Faye’s story: good practice when prescribing opioids for chronic pain

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These resources highlight the difficulties in prescribing opioids to manage chronic pain and offer advice and guidance to all healthcare professionals who are responsible for administering them.

Prescribing opioids for chronic pain: lessons for healthcare professionals PDF, 1.0 MB

Faye’s story, as told by her parents, illustrates what can happen when things go wrong and the key messages that they wish all healthcare professionals to consider.

Controlled drugs newsletter: prescribing opioids for chronic pain PDF, 410.2 KB

This newsletter looks at the issues relating to prescribing opioids for chronic pain.

Opioids are effective analgesics for acute pain and end of life care, however they are of limited use for long term chronic pain. Side effects are very common and up to a quarter of patients taking opioids long term have developed a dependence on them. Long term opioid prescribing for chronic non-cancer pain is becoming an increasing issue in England; as highlighted by the British Medical Association.  

Faye’s story puts these potential dangers into reality by describing, from her parent’s perspective, the sequence of events that ultimately led to her untimely death from respiratory depression. They also outline the lessons learned by the GP practice involved in the case and the general messages they wish to communicate to all healthcare professionals.

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