opioid reduction policy

Twenty years ago, evidence showed that opiates were effective in any pain. Based on this evidence, many people were started on these drugs in good faith. However, this evidence has now been debunked. It is now abundantly clear that these drugs do not benefit chronic or persistent pain. Conversely, there is a better appreciation of the risks including dependence and opioid-related mortality which has sadly been increasing.

As a practice, we have to ensure that steps are taken to reduce the prescribing of opiates. We know some patients have been taking these medications for several years. We must review these patients and discuss slowly weaning off their opiate medication. This will be done with their usual doctor or our in-house pharmacist.

We appreciate that for a patient who has been taking opioids for a number of years; there may be a sense that they won’t be able to cope without them. Evidence does show that we can reduce withdrawal symptoms by tapering the dose of the opiate slowly. The most common opiate prescribed in primary care is Codeine. This is primarily given as co-codamol (this is codeine prescribed with paracetamol).

  • A 28-day supply can only be issued at one time.
  • Where patients are on a reducing regime, the dose will not be increased. We may hold you on a reduced dose for a longer period but will not be increasing.
  • Lost prescription or medication requested early will not be issued
    Please see the resources on our website.

If you have any concerns, please speak to your usual doctor or our pharmacist.