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Opioids such as morphine, fentanyl and codeine are super strength medications for pain which can be highly addictive. In 2021 there were 4,859 drug related deaths in England and Wales. Approximately half of these deaths involved an opiate. On this page we have some resources to aid clinical decisions on prescribing.

There is a new Opioid Reduction Advice and Guidance service for GPs provided by Somerset Community Pain Management Service. The advice and guidance is for clinicians who are seeking help reducing opioid medication for patients where opiate use is escalating and there is a safety concern.

Please see the Somerset Community Pain Management Service website for patient resources to help them understand and manage their pain.

Please see the Somerset Prescribing Formulary for preferred formulations.

Services to help patients wanting to reduce their opiates

There is an Opioid Reduction Advice and Guidance service for GPs provided by Somerset Community Pain Management Service. The advice and guidance is for clinicians who are seeking help reducing opioid medication for patients where opiate use is escalating and there is a safety concern.

There is also a new Somerset Drugs and Alcohol Service (SDAS) and Somerset Community Pain Management Service (SCPMS) are offering a new combined service which started in January 2023 for patients who are wanting to reduce their opiates. The referral criteria for this service can be found here. Further information is available in the GP Bulletin.

“Skills not Pills” Deprescribing Resources

-Presentations for clinicians

Chronic pain can be really difficult to manage. The patient is suffering and you want to help. Knowing how to help and what support exists can be challenging. As a result, the Somerset Training Hub and SGPET have teamed up with a number of colleagues to produce resources to support clinicians. They have called this work Skills Not Pills. You can access five short presentations (each only 7-17 minutes long) and a patient information leaflet on the work at the SGPET website under Managing Pain – Skills Not Pills.

Practice Prescribing Information

A practice by practice review of the data comparing prescribing to other GP practices in England and Somerset can be found on OpenPrescribing. To help with the review of patients who may be taking > 120mg equivalent of morphine per day, find your practice then click on the link below the chart to see the preparations prescribed.

Dose Equivalents

The BNF updated its equivalences in August 2020, this is reflected in the Faculty of Pain Medicine tables.

Audit Tools

For a set of Emis searches to run this audit please email helen.spry@nhs.net

Patient Information Videos

The National Health and Care Video Library no longer exists in its previous form. Please contact them directly for more information.

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