Opioid pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics: Knowing the difference

June 20, 2017
Target Audience:

Pharmacists in community-based practice.

Universal program number: 0401-0000-17-056-L01-P
CE Broker tracking number: 20-573853
Activity type: Knowledge-based
Date: Tuesday, June 20 from 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. EDT


It has been postulated that part of the blame for the current opioid crisis is due to clinicians who entered into a pain management role, but who lacked a thorough understanding of pain etiology/pathology and opioid pharmacology, often believing that, aside from some subjective differences, all opioids are created equal. The major opioids used in pain management differ not only pharmacokinetically, but at the pharmacodynamic level as well. In this session, we will briefly review pain pathology and then examine the PK and PD differences between the most commonly used opioid analgesics and where these differences may negatively affect clinical outcomes in select patients. We will conclude by discussing the importance of communication between pharmacists and prescribing clinicians regarding prescribed drug choices, doses, etc., in certain patients.

Learning objectives:
  1. Review the pathophysiology of pain, including the various types and those most/least amenable to opioids.
  2. Compare and contrast the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of the most common opioids used in pain management.
  3. Identify which opioids may be affected by renal and/or hepatic impairment as well as drug interactions and the potential clinical impact.  
  4. List the number of rationales for opioid rotation.
  5. Define incomplete cross-tolerance and its importance in equianalgesic dose calculations.
To obtain credit:

Attendees must participate in the entire program by viewing the presentation on a smartphone, tablet or desktop or laptop computer, listening to the presenters with audio from the device or a linked telephone connection, responding to polling questions and submitting questions within the GotoWebinar platform. Following the presentation, attendees must return to the lesson within Drug Store News to attest to active participation and to select a participation code that will be displayed by the moderator during the on-screen presentation. An evaluation of the program is also required.

Please note, live CPE credit will not be awarded for participants who choose to dial in by phone without also viewing the presentation.

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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 1.0 contact hours (0.1 CEUs).

Course summary
Credit hours: 
  • 1.00 Pharmacist
Course opens: 
Course format: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
06/20/2017 - 8:00pm
Event ends: 
06/20/2017 - 9:00pm

Alan P. Agins, PhD, president, PRN Associates, continuing medical education, Tucson, Ariz. 

Alan P. Agins and the DSN editorial and continuing education staff do not have any actual or potential conflicts of interest in relation to this lesson.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 Pharmacist

Accreditation Period

Course opens: 
Course expires: 


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