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NICE to set out new opioid prescription guidelines for GPs

Published on 18/03/19 at 10:36am

NICE is set to develop new guidelines for GPs and healthcare professionals setting out rules for doctors regarding opioids and other potentially addictive prescription drugs.

The new guidelines will set out rules for doctors dealing with those dependent on and withdrawing from prescription drugs.

The government body said the recommendations – requested by the Department of Health and Social Care – will address “growing concerns about dependence on prescription drugs”.

The move comes amid a 50% increase in the number of prescriptions for potentially addictive drugs, since 2000. The new rules will address increased prescription rates, stark differences in prescribing practices and soaring addiction rates, overdoses and deaths, as revealed in an investigation from British newspaper The Times

Gillian Leng, of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, said: “NICE has been asked to develop a guideline covering safe prescribing of drugs associated with dependence and the management of withdrawing from these drugs.”

“With an average of five opioid-related deaths reportedly in the UK each day, and growing concerns about dependence on prescription drugs, our recommendations will help drive improvements.”

Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs said the guidelines should “should offer support to prescribing healthcare professionals, particularly in terms of alternatives when developing a treatment plan.”

Louis Goss

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