Opium poppy seed and injection

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Opiates are potent, effective analgesics used to relieve acute and chronic pain in many different situations, however long term use can result in tolerance and dependence, factors which make them liable to misuse. Patients may also experience adverse effects with opiate use so they must be prescribed with caution and monitored regularly.

Opiates are classed as ‘controlled drugs’ and are divided into five 'schedules' corresponding to their therapeutic usefulness and misuse potential. Legal controls apply to their manufacture, supply and possession. 

This course looks at the safe, effective and legal prescribing of opiates with examples from clinical practice.

This resource was developed with an educational grant from the Medical Protection Society (MPS).

This course is FREE to RCGP members and Associates in Training. If you are non-member, you can purchase it on the RCGP website


Start First5® CPD Meeting Pack: Opiate Prescribing: Patient Safety and Quality of Care

Time to complete this course: 2 hours
Date of publication: May 2014