Narcotics, or opioid drugs, are increasingly being used to treat pain, including pain associated with work injuries. In November 2007, Canadian medical regulatory colleges formed the National Opioid Use Guideline Group (NOUGG) to create a Canadian guideline for managing opioid prescriptions. The Institute for Work & Health contributed to the systematic research review leading to the guideline.
The resulting Canadian Guideline for Safe and Effective Use of Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain, published in 2010 by the NOUGG, aims to provide physicians and other clinicians with information to prescribe opioids safely and effectively to patients with chronic non-cancer pain. The guideline is available from the National Pain Centre housed at McMaster University: http://nationalpaincentre.mcmaster.ca/opioid.
To make it easier for clinicians to apply the guideline in practice, IWH Associate Scientist Dr. Andrea Furlan led the development of a point-of-care tool called the Opioid Manager. Available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, the Opioid Manager distils onto one double-sided page the essential information and advice from the guideline. The Opioid Manager is also available as an app from the Apple iTunes App store.