New patient information video about opioids

17 June 2020

The Faculty of Pain Medicine has partnered with NPS MedicineWise to produce a new animated video aimed at helping people make an informed decision with their doctor about whether to start taking an opioid medicine for chronic non-cancer pain.

Opioids are a class of medicines taken to help reduce pain but they can produce unwanted side effects.

FPM Dean Associate Professor Michael Vagg says the new video helps people make a decision in partnership with their doctor about whether to start taking an opioid medicine. 

Stuart Leamer is a 67 year-old from a small farming community near Geelong in Victoria. He hurt his back helping a friend build a house, and has been living with back pain ever since.
“I started with Panadol, then Panadeine, then Panadeine Forte. In the end, 20 years later, I was taking the much stronger oxycodone and MS Contin – slow release morphine,” says Mr Leamer. 

“Things changed when I was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. I spent 1.5 weeks in intensive care, where I was taken off opioids. It was two or three weeks of hell, but now things are so much better. My kids and grandkids tell me how I have changed. I feel so much better mentally and physically. I started enjoying life.” 
“When you are on opioids, you don’t understand what they are doing to you. I should have done this 15 years ago,” he says. 

“Mr Leamer’s story shows just how important it is to understand more about opioid medicines, the risks involved, and the importance of agreeing on an exit strategy upfront to stop taking opioids when they are no longer needed,” says Associate Professor Vagg. 

“People can watch the video with their doctor or at home to help them make an informed decision about whether opioids are the best treatment option for their pain,” he says.

Last updated 16:17 4.07.2020