Helping patients understand therapeutic pain-management options

Target Audience:

Pharmacists in community-based practice.

Universal program number: 0401-0000-13-005-H01-P
Activity type: Knowledge-based


To improve the pharmacist’s ability to provide consultation on nonpharmacologic and over-the-counter pharmacologic pain-management options to patients.


Many common pain conditions are amenable to self-treatment with systemic and topical over-the-counter analgesics and/or such nonpharmacologic therapy as heat and cold packs, massage and rest. The community pharmacist can help patients seeking pain relief to assess whether self-treatment is appropriate and can offer recommendations for treatment.

Learning objectives:

Upon completion of this program, the pharmacist should be able to:

  1. Recall basic pain mechanisms and pathways.
  2. List common conditions that cause patients’ pain, including musculoskeletal disorders, osteoarthritis, headaches and dysmenorrheal, and be able to distinguish between those that may be self-treated and those where physician referral is appropriate.
  3. Discuss role of nonsystemic over-the-counter topical pain relievers in pain management and benefits compared with systemic pain relievers.
  4. Describe local pain relief options and their benefits, including hot/cold packs, topical analgesics and counterirritants, and massage/massagers and product selection considerations.
  5. Demonstrate effective counseling techniques to both patients and caregivers about pain-management treatment alternatives.
To obtain credit:

A minimum test score of 70% is needed to obtain credit. Submit your answers to the learning assessment questions online at Your statement of credit will be available through CPE Monitor located at To ensure transmission of credit hours to CPE Monitor, you must enter your correct e-PID number in your CE profile.

All customer service questions should be directed to (800) 933-9666. This lesson is free of charge.


Drug Store News is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. This CPE Activity is approved for pharmacists and is worth 2.0 contact hours (0.2 CEUs). The activity is available for CE credit through June 7, 2016.

Course summary
Credit hours: 
  • 2.00 Pharmacist
Course opens: 
Course format: 
Written Lesson
Course expires: 

By Marsha K. Millonig, RPh, MBA, consultant, director of strategic planning and special projects, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Center for Leading Healthcare Change

Author Disclosure:

Marsha K. Millonig and the DSN editorial and continuing education staff do not have any actual or potential conflicts of interest in relation to this lesson.

This lesson is supported by an education grant from Wahl.

Available Credit

  • 2.00 Pharmacist

Accreditation Period

Course opens: 
Course expires: 


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