Real-time prescription monitoring (SafeScript NSW) update Aug 2021

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Dr Chow Chow


You might have heard about the real-time prescription monitoring system recently. With the help of NSW Health, you can start taking advantage of the digital real-time system to improve safe medication use.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into what exactly Safe script NSW is, how you can benefit from it, exactly what is included – and answer some common questions about real-time prescription monitoring.

Table of Contents

Why do we need a Real-time Prescription Monitoring System?

Australian governments recognise the misuse of opioid analgesics and other psychoactive medicines is a serious and increasing problems in Australia. One of the effective measures to prevent the opioids overdose epidemic seen in other countries, like the USA, is to implement a real-time prescription monitoring. 

Data shows many deaths involve people obtaining multiple prescriptions from multiple healthcare providers. Some deaths might be prevented if information about the supply of high-risk drugs is available to health professionals at the time of prescribing.

Trust is basic to the doctor–patient relationship. The focus on preventing ‘doctor shoppers’ not only consolidating care to single prescriber and single dispenser, it also benefits the patient from a people-centred approach. 

The use of Real-time Prescription Monitoring System can help reduce misuse of the medicines of interest, while ensuring that patients who genuinely need these medicines are available for them to access.

What is Real-time Prescription Monitoring System?

Real-time Prescription Monitoring System is a digital portal with live information provided to the doctors (prescribers) and the pharmacists (dispensers) about a patient’s prescribed and dispensed history of controlled medicines. The system is a clinical decision supporting tool.

Which are the high risk medications? 

Strong opioids: Oxycodone, Morphine, Codeine, Fentanyl, Hydromorphone, Methadone, Buprenorphine, Tapentadol, Pethidine

Benzodiazepines: Alprazolam, Flunitrazepam, Bromazepam, Clobazam, Clonazepam, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Midazolam, Nitrazepam, Oxazepam, Temazepam

Z-drugs: Zolpidem, Zopiclone

Stimulants: Dexamphetamine, Lisdexamfetamine, Methylphenidate.

Others: Ketamine, Quetiapine.

 How Real-time Prescription Monitoring System Helps?

Real-time Prescription Monitoring System will change clinical practice, especially among the primary care providers, drug health (or addiction medicine) and pain specialist. The system is designed to encourage a people-centred approach on opioid use, focuses on the patient’s understanding of their situation and the underlying cause and its effects on daily functioning. There are a series of clinical action points, which will be available to the prescribers and dispensers on how to respond when the system finds a patient is at risk. 

Why is it relevant to your pain management?

Most of the people living with chronic pain have been prescribed with opioids initially. A subgroup of these patients developed pathogenic opioid dependence and other opioid-related consequences, while their pain is not adequately managed. 

It is essential to determine the underlying motivation of behaviour, to respond appropriately and avoid indiscriminate refusal of care for vulnerable patients. A detailed pain management should undergo comprehensive biopsychosocial framework assessment. An open discussion with realistic options, with shared understanding, consistent with professional responsibilities to provide safe and quality care. 

A supportive care should be time-sensitive, confident with training in managing opioids, cultivating positive experience with people who are vulnerable, non-judgemental, use of neutral and empathetic language. 

What are the online resources available?

SafeScript NSW Official Website:

Australian Government, Department of Health. National Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM).

Dobbin M, Liew DF. Real‑time prescription monitoring: helping people at risk of harm. Aust Prescr 2020;43:164-7.


Taking advantage of the ability to identify people who misuse medication at the click of a few buttons with the real time prescription monitoring system can make huge differences to those who genuinely need these medications. Receiving empathetic care and timely support is one of few ways you can manage your pain better with the right pain specialist and team. 

Have any questions about Real-time Prescription Monitoring System? Facebook @DrChowChow

Here’s An Easy Way to Show You Care

Thank you for your kind referral, please also fax us a copy of patient’s health summary with their current medication and medical history at (02) 8088 7877

PO Box 18 Roslyn Street, Potts Point 2011 NSW
Phone 02 8866 1393
Fax 02 8088 7877
Healthlink: tzechowc


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