Most episodes of acute pain can be managed with medication and the pain usually goes away when the injury or illness heals. More information about medicines for short-term pain is available here.
Medication alone is not helpful for the management of persistent pain and people will often need to adopt other strategies for long-term pain management.
For persistent pain, supported self-management and adopting a multidisciplinary pain management approach is recommended. A holistic plan that incorporates biological, psychological and social factors will be the most beneficial to reduce the effects of chronic pain and improve ability and quality of life.
Some medicines can play a role within this holistic plan, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.
Sometimes, if an individual has tried other treatments without success, their doctor might prescribe opioid medications. However, opioids play a limited role in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain and can come with a risk of harm and can be addictive if used long-term.
If you are using medication alone for pain management, it is recommended that you discuss other options with your GP or health professional.
Opioid regulation reforms
Information about the Opioid reforms that came into effect in June 2020
This series of four educational videos aims to support effective conversations between health professionals and patients about the use of opioids for the management of chronic non-cancer pain. The videos focus on motivational interviewing techniques, providing examples of interactions between patients and health professionals, and demonstrating how best practice recommendations can be applied to individual patient circumstances.
Register adverse medicine events
If you have any concerns about reactions, side effects or medicine interactions call the Adverse Medicine Events (AME) Line. The AME Line is staffed by registered pharmacists and provides information related to prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines. AME LINE: 1300 134 237 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm