Reminder: Standards of Practice for Prescribing Opioids and Benzodiazepines/Z-Drugs

December 07, 2023 |
Prescribing Practices

CPSM, in collaboration with other key regulators, is revising prescribing rules as set out by various Standards of Practice and Practice Directions (see Public Consultation: Prescribing Requirements for details). While some changes to prescribing rules are anticipated in the spring, CPSM would like to remind prescribers that the Standards of Practice for Prescribing Opioids and Prescribing Benzodiazepines & Z-Drugs remain in effect. Changes to these Standards are not anticipated 


Prescribers are still required to comply with the expectations set out in these Standards for opioids and benzodiazepines/Z-drugs, including limitations on prescription duration (maximum 3 months) and dispensing intervals (maximum 1-month supply dispensed at a time). On an exceptional basis, prescribers may authorize a dispensing interval of up to three months for these medications for patients in remote communities or for travel, if the patient has been on a stable long-term prescription. The exception should be noted on the prescription. This limit also applies to those patients who may leave the country for longer than three months at a time, including “snowbirds”.  


Likewise, pharmacists are expected to reinforce these prescribing Standards when dispensing opioids and benzodiazepines/Z-drugs to patients. Interprofessional communication and collaboration are always encouraged to optimize patient care. 


As travel increases over the winter months, prescribers must continue to comply with these standards for prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines/Z-drugs for patients planning extended travel outside of Manitoba 


The article Prescribing Opioids and Benzodiazepines/Z-drugs to Travellers or Snowbirds highlights what prescribers need to know to support their patients, while complying with these prescribing Standards and the Standard of Practice for Virtual Medicine 


Lastly, CPSM wishes to remind registrants that the legal interpretation of the Regulated Health Professions Act, Regulations, and common law concludes that the location of medical care in Manitoba is the location of the patient. It is important for providers to make their patients aware of this before they travel. TheInfo Sheet on Virtual Medicine Across Provincial & International Borders may be a helpful resource for physicians and pharmacists providing care to travelling patients.