Online Patient Education Resources for Pain Management: Opioid Therapy

Use the information in these online resources to help your patients gain a better understanding of their condition and their treatment.

Use the information in these online resources and tools created by trusted sources to help your patients gain a better understanding of their condition and their treatment.

Preparing for an Office Visit

Created by and the American Pain Foundation, this worksheet can be downloaded and given to patients to help them track changes in the frequency and intensity of their pain, record any changes in their ability to perform activities of daily living as a result of their pain, monitor side effects from their prescription opioids and other medications they are taking, record descriptions of other treatment they may be trying (including physical therapy, cognitive/behavioral counseling, and any complementary/alternative medicines and supplements they are taking), and track other changes to their general health. The true value of this and similar tools is that it can serve as a conversation prompt during the office visit and remind patients to share important information that can be used to modify treatment plans.

Safe and Responsible Use of Opioid Medications

Another useful resource from and the American Pain Foundation, this handout lists important do’s and don’ts for patients who are taking prescription opioids for pain. It stresses the importance of carefully following providers’ instructions and reminds patients to read the medication guides that came with their prescription. It also advises them to have their opioid and non-opioid prescriptions filled at eh same pharmacy if possible. The worksheet warns patients to never change the dose of their prescription pain medications without first talking to their physician and to never share their meds with anyone else.

Opioid Safety Instructions for Patients and Caregivers

Opioids911-Safety -- an “independent, noncommercial, Internet-based educational activity from Pain Treatment Topics for patients and their caregivers focusing on the proper and safe use of opioid pain relievers created this patient handout that provides “essential opioid safety tips, a brief listing of side effects, cautions about taking opioid medications safely, and guidance for identifying opioid overmedication or overdose.”

What to Do in Case of an Opioid Overdose Emergency

Also from Opioids911-Safety, this sheet outlines the steps that patients and caregivers should take in cases of suspected opioid overdose, including establishing whether the person is responsive and then initiating rescue breathing and/or CPR if the situation warrants. Each step is accompanied by clear, concise text descriptions and colorful illustrations.

Advice for Caregivers

Built upon “the four Caregiver Cornerstones: learning about pain management, caring for a person with pain, caring for yourself, and advocating for all people with pain,” this resource from Partners Against Pain offers useful advice for friends and family members who are helping to care for a loved one suffering with pain. Among other useful tips and information, caregivers are advised to pay attention to the signs that indicate your loved one might be in pain, keep a pain diary to use as a starting point for a discussion during office visits with a physician or other health care provider, take responsibility for medications (including keeping a record of all medications prescribed to the patient, keeping a record of dosage instructions and actual consumption of medications, locking up or otherwise securing opioids and other medications with a high potential for misuse and abuse, and learning proper disposal techniques).

Opioid Myths and Facts

Print this article from the National Pain Foundation and distribute it to patients and caregivers whose fears concerning several potential side effects of opioid treatment for pain are based on misinformation and/or several commonly propagated myths about these medications. The article discusses the effects of opioids on the body, the true risk of addiction and the difference between addiction and dependence, the truth about opioid tolerance, and other topics.

Opioid Medication FAQs

This resource provides clear answers to several questions commonly asked by patients who have been prescribed opioid therapy for their pain. Topics covered include safe opioid prescribing and risk management, what to expect during office visits, the goals and characteristics of “high-quality opioid management,” the difference between informed consent and an opioid agreement and the purpose of such agreements, the uses of urine drug monitoring as part of effective pain management with opioids, the reasons why providers perform medication reviews and pill counts, and other patient responsibilities associated with pain management that includes prescription opioid medications.

HCPLive wants to know:

What other patient education handouts, fact sheets, brochures, and worksheets do you use and/or recommend when prescribing opioid medications for patients with chronic pain?

Have you created patient education tools for use in your practice that you would like to share with your colleagues?

Please leave a comment below!