Alberta’s College of Physicians and Surgeons wants to see tougher rules on how doctors prescribe opioid painkillers.
The college plans to send a standard of practice proposal to doctors and the province next month called “Safe Prescribing”, and hopes to approve it in March.
Opioid prescribing by Alberta doctors is among the highest in the country, while Canada is one of the top countries in the world for painkiller use.
The new standards would require doctors to prescribe the lowest effective dose to patients who need long-term opioid treatment for chronic pain other than cancer.
Codeine, morphine, Oxycodone and fentanyl patches are just some prescription opioids.
Doctors would have to discuss medication decisions with patients, including potential serious side effects, other treatment options and the probability of the drug improving their health.
Physicians would also be required to track a patient’s drug treatment history.
Last March, the U-S Centers for Disease Control released new guidelines to improve the way opioids are prescribed to help reduce the number of people who overdose from strong painkillers.
Alberta’s regulator plans to hold a forum next month on opioid prescribing with physicians, Alberta Health and other groups.