If  you are caring for patients receiving prescription opioids for chronic pain, be sure to attend Dr. Launette Rieb’s plenary session at the Family Medicine Conference (FMC) in June.

A family physician who specializes in addictions, Dr. Rieb will be presenting Opioid Prescribing: Current Considerations. She will provide insights into the most up-to-date evidence on the risks associated with prescription opioids for chronic non-cancer pain and discuss how to mitigate these risks.

For some patients, this will mean reducing their dosage or helping them transition to alternate pain management.  For example, current evidence indicates that when patients are taking opioids for chronic pain, the side effects, which include unintended overdose, falls, sleep apnea and depression, are dose dependant.

Dr. Rieb will discuss how you can screen for risk factors and provide an overview of the treatment pathways available for those who need to be managed differently.

She hopes that hearing the evidence on risk will prompt family physicians to take a second look at how they are currently managing patients on these medications.

“I would like them to reflect on each of their patients that they have on opioids,” she says. “And ask themselves: is my prescribing to them safe, is it effective, can it do more harm than good, and could this patient benefit from a modification of either their dose, a new way of dispensing (the drug) or a different way of monitoring their use?”

Opioid prescribing is one of more than 20 sessions on the agenda for the FMC, which takes place June 4 and 5 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver. Other topics range from pediatric food allergies and pre-operative consults for the elderly, to refugee health assessment and management.

Click here for the full program and a link to registration.  Early bird rates apply until May 4.


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