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Module 2: Relieving Pain and Other Symptoms

The Safe and Effective Use of Opioids to Manage Pain


 Facilitator's Guide Download PDF  PowerPoint Download PowerPoint

This 45-minute lecture introduces participants to the range of opioid medications commonly used in pediatrics, their routes of administration, and guidelines for starting dosages, titration, breakthrough dosages, and equianalgesic conversion from one opioid medication to another. The management of common opioid side effects is also addressed.

Facilitators are encouraged to follow up with participants in the weeks following the session to answer questions that arise in practice and discuss any barriers they've encountered that might call for an institutional change or the education of additional caregivers.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the mechanisms and clinical effects of opioids and their uses in the treatment of pain and related symptoms in palliative care.
  • Compare common opioid medications in terms of their strength, routes of delivery, dosage ceilings, and other characteristics that factor into a clinician's choice of opioid.
  • Recognize that wide variation exists among patients as to the specific opioid medications and the dosages needed to alleviate pain while minimizing side effects.
  • Determine the routes of delivery, starting dosages, and titration increments for opioid-naive patients and patients requiring dosage changes or conversion to an alternative opioid.
  • Recognize the need for frequent assessment of pain and adherence to titration guidelines to identify an effective dosage.
  • Recognize and treat common opioid side effects.

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