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Opioid analgesics: Treating Pain in People with Cancer

Understand opioid prescribing for the treatment of cancer pain, and how to avoid and manage opioid-related adverse events.

1,747 enrolled on this course

Opioid analgesic pills and capsules.
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • Accreditation

    AvailableMore info

Learn how to opioid analgesics for the treatment of cancer pain

Despite being commonly prescribed, opioids account for more reported drug errors than any other high-risk medication (Alanazi et al, 2016). They represent a significant patient safety and public health issue. This course will help you increase your knowledge of the basic pharmacology of opioids so you are better able to prescribe them safely and effectively in the treatment of cancer-related pain.

You will learn the principles for safe prescribing, get to grips with the management of opioid-related adverse events and understand the rationale for prescribing opioid analgesics for cancer pain.

What topics will you cover?

  • Week 1: Basic pharmacology and rationale for opioid analgesics.
  • Week 2: Principles of safe opioid prescribing in practice for patients with cancer.
  • Week 3: Safe management of opioid-related adverse events.

Who is this accredited by?

Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of General Practitioners:

This course has been accredited by the RCGP and is considered to be of high quality and relevant for general practitioners’ CPD and Revalidation needs.

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service, which means it can be used to provide evidence of your continuing professional development.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the pharmacology of and mechanisms of action of opioid analgesics.
  • Explain pharmacological and physiological terminology related to opioid analgesia
  • Explain the rationale for selecting opioid analgesics for a range of clinical situations
  • Explain the process of selecting an appropriate starting dosing schedule for commmonly prescribed opioid analgesics.
  • Describe when and how to convert opioids without compromising safety and efficacy .
  • Describe how to manage common opioid related adverse events.
  • Describe reasons why pain may not respond or responds poorly to opioids.

Who is the course for?

This course is for qualified healthcare professionals who prescribe opioid drugs and/or care for patients who are taking opioids anywhere in the world. It will be of particular use to general practitioners, palliative care specialists, acute hospital practitioners (surgical and medical disciplines), pharmacists and those with an interest in pain management, including medical and non-medical prescribers and those professionals involved in monitoring and supervision of opioid prescribing.

Who will you learn with?

Specialist Palliative Care Physician and Curriculum Director, MSc in Oncology and Palliative Care, Newcastle University. Special interest in safe medicines management at end of life. Always learning.

Cons. Palliative Medicine
Q member
Medical Director at Hillcroft House Research Hub
Lecturer Birmingham City Uni
Runner up RCGP GP of yr

Who developed the course?

Newcastle University

A thriving international community of over 20,000 students. The university’s mission as a world-class civic university means it applies its academic excellence to real-world challenges.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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