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Patients on opioids long-term: How can we help manage these patients in primary care?

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Patients on opioids long-term: How can we help manage these patients in primary care?

09 Oct 2019
GP Clinical Theatre 1

Opioid prescribing is increasing year-on-year in the UK. This is of particular importance in primary care as most long-term prescriptions are initiated in this setting. Opioid-induced constipation (OIC) is a common, unpleasant and often difficult to manage complication of opioid therapy. Whilst this is a recognised opioid side effect, distinguishing it from other problems such as functional constipation can be problematic - the pathophysiology of OIC is multi-faceted and differs from other causes of constipation. Sub-optimal management of OIC can have serious negative consequences for the patient and lead to an increased burden on the NHS with increased, avoidable healthcare utilisation. This session will demonstrate how improving the care pathway for patients with OIC in line with NICE guidance may help improve patients’ quality of life and reduce the burden on clinicians and the health care system.

  • To understand the increase in opioid prescribing over time within the NHS and discuss the implications to the patient
  • To discuss the consequences of mismanagement of Opioid Induced Constipation (OIC) for the patient, healthcare utilisation and NHS resources.
  • To show how NICE Guidance can be embedded into clinical practice in primary care using OIC as a live example.
  • To outline considerations & processes when there are suggested changes to treatment guidelines, particularly those that include the addition of more expensive treatment options.
  • To provide guidance on how to interact with a patient with OIC in primary care.
James Findlay, GP - Northamptonshire
Pali Hungin, Emeritus Professor (Primary Care and General Practice) - Institute of Health and Society, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University