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Assessing for Risk, Benefit and Harm when Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
May 15, 2013

While long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain may benefit some patients, it may cause harm. A risk-benefit assessment should precede opioid prescriptions including evaluation for prescription opioid misuse risk, and assessing, discussing and documenting realistic treatment goals and risks. Patient-provider agreements and informed consents are important as are ongoing monitoring for benefit and harm using frequent face-to-face assessments, urine drug tests, pill counts and prescription drug monitoring program data.

Learning Objectives

  • Recall the breadth and quality of evidence for the use of opioids for chronic pain, including current gaps in knowledge.
  • Recall appropriate assessment, monitoring and documentation strategies to meet best practice standards and medico-legal requirements to support opioid prescribing.
  • Apply a practical framework for decision-making on the initiation, maintenance, and discontinuation of opioid analgesics for the treatment of chronic pain.


Daniel P. Alford, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM
Associate Professor of Medicine
Assistant Dean, Continuing Medical Education
Boston University School of Medicine
Program Director, Addiction Medicine Fellowship
Medical Director, Office-Based Opioid Treatment Program

The content of this activity does not relate to any product of a commercial interest.

The duration of this webinar is 60 minutes

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