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Prescribing opioids in chronic pain

 

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Prescribing opioids in chronic pain

Whilst opioids are effective analgesics for acute pain and end of life care, they are of limited use for long term chronic pain and there is a significant risk of side effects and dependency.

Long term opioid prescribing for chronic non-cancer pain is becoming an increasing issue in England; as highlighted by the British Medical Association (BMA). NHS Improvement and NHS England have made resources available, including Faye’s story which puts the potential dangers of prescribing opioids into reality by describing, from her parent’s perspective, the sequence of events that ultimately led to her untimely death from respiratory depression. All healthcare professionals involved in managing patients with long term pain should read the resources and reflect on their own, and their teams, practice.