Pain Management and Opioids (2023)

A Free Online CME/CE Course for Medical Professionals

Pain management is evolving, and medical professionals need to be aware of current guidelines and clinical best practices. NEJM Knowledge+ Pain Management and Opioids CME/CE course enhances your knowledge about opioids, so you can feel more confident managing pain appropriately. This CME/CE course is offered FREE to medical professionals and includes the following features:

  • Curation of content into 8 topic areas for streamlined learning
  • New learning resources to supplement the case-based questions
  • Summary PDFs that you can download and review to keep your knowledge fresh
  • New reports on each question showing how other learners answered

To claim your CME/CE credits, you must answer all 62 case-based questions. Once you have seen the completion pop-up message, you can go to the MOC/CME or Accreditation Center within the product to download a transcript of your credits.


Family Medicine/GPs/PAs — REGISTER HERE

(Video) How opioids are best used for pain management


Topic Breakdowns and Summaries

Case-based questions in Pain Management and Opioids are sorted into 8 topic areas, which you will be asked to review sequentially:

  1. Musculoskeletal pain
  2. Common non-musculoskeletal pain
  3. Basics of opioid prescribing I
  4. Basics of opioid prescribing II
  5. Complex situations in opioid prescribing
  6. Opioid pharmacology
  7. Acute pain
  8. Opioid use disorder

As you complete each of these key topic areas a PDF summary is available for download. Each summary provides an overview of the topic with links to tools that you can use in daily practice as well as links to related learning resources.

Learning Resource and Clinical Tools

We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback on this educational activity, as well as requests for additional information on topics that clinicians find particularly challenging, such as talking to patients about their opioid use and determining the best strategy for tapering opioid therapy. To that end, we have created a series of learning resources to supplement this activity that are available from within the module as well as through the Topic Summary PDFs.

Register Now

This course covers:

FDA Opioid Analgesic REMS Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers
Involved in the Treatment and Monitoring of Patients with Pain

Over 60 case-based questions with feedback and resources

Pain Management and Opioids CME/CE increases your knowledge of:

  • The latest practices for assessing and managing acute and chronic pain.
  • Current guidelines in the appropriate use of opioids for pain management.
  • Evidence-based strategies for recognizing and treating opioid use disorder.

Register for Your Free Course

Pain Management CME: The NEJM Knowledge+ Difference

Clinicians value NEJM Knowledge+ for more than earning CME and MOC. It has been proven to help them pass their board exams, engage in lifelong learning, and improve their confidence and clinical decision-making skills. The Pain Management and Opioids CME/CE module employs the cognitive science principles of all NEJM Knowledge+ programs to give you the same trusted learning outcomes.

Content created by clinicians, for clinicians.

As with all NEJM Knowledge+ modules, the Pain Management and Opioids CME/CE course contains peer-reviewed, expert content. This question bank is designed by clinicians, including pain management experts and addiction specialists, with realistic cases and engaging feedback you may experience in your daily practice. Learn today and put your knowledge to use immediately.


(Video) Pain Management: Opioids
Engaging and efficient learning strategy.

NEJM Knowledge+ goes beyond passive reading and rote memorization by actively testing your knowledge to ensure you master the material. Unlike other educational programs that repeat the same question until it is answered correctly, NEJM Knowledge+ presents questions in a variety of formats until you achieve true mastery of the underlying concepts.


Mobile, quick, and convenient.

Available online in both desktop and mobile versions, NEJM Knowledge+ is there for you when and where you want to learn, whether during downtime in your clinic or when out of the office. Set yourself bite-sized, achievable goals of answering a few questions at a time and take advantage of the mobility of NEJM Knowledge+ to do so on your schedule. Answer questions anywhere, anytime.


(Video) Understanding CDC’s proposed pain treatment guidelines

Adaptive Learning Advantage

NEJM Knowledge+ encourages you to be a lifelong learner. Once you have successfully completed your Pain Management and Opioids CME/CE requirements, you can return to the program to refresh your knowledge around safe prescribing. Our adaptive learning algorithms adjust the questions you see based on their assessment of your understanding of the material, as well as your confidence and response time, to adjust your learning pathway in real time.

What Is Adaptive Learning?

An individualized learning experience that starts by determining a learner’s strengths and weaknesses, then uses powerful algorithms to serve information and learning exercises that address limitations and guide the learner to greater proficiency.

Opioids CME/CE: How the NEJM Knowledge+ Online Course Works

  1. Complete the online registration form
  2. Start answering questions anytime, anywhere you want.

Please note: You must answer all 62 case-based questions and review the corresponding feedback to claim your CME/CE credits (see table below for more detail). After completing your CME/CE requirements, you can continue to use the Pain Management and Opioids module to refresh your knowledge, as much as you want.

Obtaining Credits and Points

AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™
(earn up to 10)
(earn up to 10)
AAFP Prescribed Credits
(earn up to 10)
Automatically tracked while learningProvide your ABIM # and your Date of BirthAutomatically tracked while learning
Print your transcriptYour points are submitted for you as you earn them.
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Print your transcript
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Register for Pain Management and Opioids

Why You Should Register for Your FREE Online Pain Management and Opioids CME Course

We understand the pressures facing today’s medical professionals. You need to stay on top of a constantly growing and evolving body of medical knowledge to provide the best patient care. Our nation’s opioid epidemic makes the job even harder, requiring you to meet the needs of your patients while complying with requirements from regulatory and oversight organizations.

The NEJM Knowledge+ Pain Management and Opioids CME/CE course addresses these needs and is the most efficient way to review the current, evidence-based clinical knowledge on opioid analgesics. Completing this activity will improve your knowledge about:

  • The fundamental concepts of pain management, including definitions and mechanisms of pain.
  • How to assess patients in pain, while identifying risk factors for abuse and addiction.
  • The range of therapeutic options for managing pain, including non-pharmacologic approaches and pharmacologic (non-opioid and opioid analgesics) therapies.
  • How to integrate opioid analgesics into a pain treatment plan individualized to the needs of the patient.
  • How to safely and effectively manage patients on opioid analgesics in acute and chronic pain settings, including initiating therapy, titrating, and discontinuing use of opioid analgesics.
  • How to counsel patients and caregivers about the safe use of opioid analgesics, including proper storage and disposal.
  • How to counsel patients and caregivers about the use of naloxone for opioid overdose.
  • When referral to a pain specialist is appropriate.
  • The fundamental elements of addiction medicine.
  • How to identify and manage patients with opioid use disorder.

Did You Know?

NEJM Knowledge+ Pain Management and Opioids module may also help you comply with CDC safe prescribing guidelines and state-mandated CME requirements.

(Video) Opioids for Chronic Pain Management

Partners in medical education. The Pain Management and Opioids modules within NEJM Knowledge+ Internal Medicine Board Review and Family Medicine Board Review are offered in partnership with Boston University School of Medicine’s Safer/Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) program. Thanks to an unrestricted educational grant as part of the FDA’s mandated Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program, NEJM Knowledge+ is able to make this CME/CE module available for free.

Accreditation Information
Disclosure of support

This activity is supported by an independent educational grant from the Opioid Analgesic REMS Program Companies. Please see for a listing of REMS Program Companies. This activity is intended to be fully compliant with the Opioid Analgesic REMS education requirements issued by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Accreditation Statement

The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement

The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this enduring material for a maximum of 10 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Risk Management and Pain Management Credits

This activity meets the criteria of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for risk management study.

This activity meets the criteria of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for opioid education.

Many states have similar requirements. Please check with your Board to determine if this activity will fulfill your state's specific requirements.

American Board of Internal Medicine MOC Points

NEJM Knowledge+ Pain Management and Opioids (IM) only: Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 10 MOC points and patient safety MOC credit in the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Participants will earn MOC points equivalent to the amount of CME credits claimed for the activity. It is the CME activity provider’s responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABIM MOC credit.

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)

NEJM Knowledge+ Pain Management and Opioids (FM) only: The AAFP has reviewed NEJM Knowledge+ Pain Management and Opioids and deemed it acceptable for up to 10.00 Enduring Materials, Self-Study AAFP Prescribed credits. Term of Approval is from 04/15/2022 to 04/15/2023. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

American Board of Medical Specialties Maintenance of Certification Part 2 Credit

Through the American Board of Medical Specialties (“ABMS”) ongoing commitment to increase access to practice relevant Continuing Certification Activities through the ABMS Continuing Certification Directory, NEJM Knowledge+ Pain Management and Opioids has met the requirements as an MOC Part II Self-Assessment and/or MOC Part II CME Activity (apply toward general CME requirement) for the following ABMS Member Boards:

MOC Part II Self-Assessment Activity Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

MOC Part II CME Activity Anesthesiology,Family Medicine,Preventive Medicine,Psychiatry and Neurology, andRadiology

Accreditation Term

Original Release Date: April 15, 2020Review dates: N/ATermination Date: April 14, 2023

American Academy of PAs

This activity has been reviewed by the AAPA Review Panel and is compliant with AAPA CME Criteria. This activity is designated for 10 AAPA Category 1 CME credits. PAs should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation. Approval is valid from 4/15/2022 to 4/14/2023. AAPA reference number: CME-206010.

(Video) Pain Management and Opioids: Free Online CME Course

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)

Pharmacology Contact Hours

This activity is approved for 10.0 contact hour(s) of continuing education (which includes 10.0 hours of pharmacology) by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Activity ID 22035423. This activity was planned in accordance with AANP Accreditation Standards and Policies.

ACPE Credits

The University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. This is an application-based educational activity. Pharmacists will receive 8.0 contact hours (0.8 CEUS) for the educational activity. No partial credit is available. UNIVERSAL ACTIVITY NUMBERS (UAN) 0060-9999-22-055-H08-P


How do opioids work in pain management? ›

When opioid medications travel through your blood and attach to opioid receptors in your brain cells, the cells release signals that muffle your perception of pain and boost your feelings of pleasure. What makes opioid medications effective for treating pain can also make them dangerous.

What type of drugs are used for pain management? ›

Tricyclic antidepressants used in the treatment of chronic pain include amitriptyline and nortriptyline (Pamelor). Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) that may be prescribed to relieve chronic pain include duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor XR, Pristiq) and milnacipran (Fetzima, Savella).

What are 3 different types of pain management? ›

Key pain management strategies include:
  • pain medicines.
  • physical therapies (such as heat or cold packs, massage, hydrotherapy and exercise)
  • psychological therapies (such as cognitive behavioural therapy, relaxation techniques and meditation)
  • mind and body techniques (such as acupuncture)
  • community support groups.

Is oxycodone effective in pain management? ›

Oxycodone is used to relieve pain severe enough to require opioid treatment and when other pain medicines did not work well enough or cannot be tolerated. It belongs to the group of medicines called narcotic analgesics (pain medicines). Oxycodone acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain.

Does pain management prescribe narcotics? ›

You and your doctor both play a role in finding the best way to manage your pain. Doctors prescribe opioids – like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine – to treat moderate to severe pain. Opioids are often prescribed following a surgery or injury or for certain health conditions.

What type of pain are opioids good for? ›

Prescription opioids (like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine) are one of the many options for treating severe acute pain. While these medications can reduce pain during short-term use, they come with serious risks including addiction and death from overdose when taken for longer periods of time or at high doses.


1. Pain Control: Opioids, Non-Opioids and Local Anesthetics | Advanced EM Pharmacology Workshop
(The Center for Medical Education)
2. Doctors rethinking opioids for chronic pain
(CBC News: The National)
3. Teaming up in the emergency room to tackle pain management and opioids
(Michigan Medicine)
4. Opioids are still needed for many chronic pain patients | USA TODAY
5. Mayo Clinic Minute: Limiting opioids for postoperative pain management
(Mayo Clinic)
6. Opioids and pain management alternatives
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