A new GP service in South Gloucestershire has shown promise in dealing with long-term opioid prescribing and dependency.
The pain review service was developed to work with patients taking opioids for long term to explore opioid use, encourage non-drug-based alternatives and, where appropriate, support dose reduction. The one-to-one service was implemented in two GP practices in South Gloucestershire and ran from September 2016 to December 2017.
A study published in the British Journal of General Practice today (Tuesday, 3 December) reports on outcomes of 59 patients who were invited to take part, of which 34 (57.6%) enrolled in the service.
At baseline, the median prescribed opioid dose was 90 mg (average daily morphine equivalent). At follow-up, this had reduced to 72 mg (P<.001 three service users stopped using opioids altogether.>
On average, the service was well-received and users showed improvement on most health, well-being and quality of life (QoL) outcomes. Perceived benefits were related to well-being, for example, improved confidence and self-esteem, use of pain management strategies, changes in medication use and reductions in dose.
Presenting the findings, the authors say that following further service development, a randomised controlled trial to test this type of care pathway is warranted.