OTTAWA, Dec. 8, 2017 /CNW/ - Canada is facing an opioid crisis that is claiming the livesof many Canadians from all walks of life. Patients receiving prescription opioids and treating physicians need a clear understanding of the risks associated with these medications to make informed decisions about how to use them as safely as possible
As part of the Government's action to reduce the harms of opioids, Health Canada held a Scientific Advisory Panel on Opioid Use and Contraindications to consider whether the current contraindications for opioid use are sufficient, or whether labelling updates and other actions may be needed to reduce risks to Canadians. The Panel's recommendations, which also consider the recently published Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain, can be found online here.
After thoroughly assessing the Panel's recommendations, Health Canada is working with manufacturers to update the Canadian labelling of all prescription opioid products. Labelling updates include:
Health Canada wants to ensure that opioid medications are available to all patients who need them, while limiting the potential for unwanted harms. While prescription opioid labels are being updated to include enhanced information about product risks, they continue to allow for physician discretion to adequately treat individual patients. For example, a recommendation may be presented in the dosing and administration section of the labelling, rather than as a contraindication, so that physicians can continue to consider the relative risks and benefits for individual patients in making their treatment decisions.
To effectively update all of these product labels, Health Canada has prioritized them based on risk. The labelling updates for all prescription opioids are expected to be completed in January 2019. In total, 508 prescription opioids are affected, representing approximately 211 submissions (i.e. a submission can include multiple dosages and each dosage would have its own DIN).
This labelling initiative is part of the latest actions in the Government of Canada's ongoing comprehensive strategy to increase awareness and reduce the harms of opioids for Canadians and their families. Canadians will continue to be updated as the opioid class labelling progresses.
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SOURCE Health Canada
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