The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has backed a new framework from NHS England to reduce inappropriate prescribing of addiction-causing medicines.

It believes that the new framework is a positive step towards improving patient care by supporting medicine reviews and shared decision making to help people reduce their use of medicines that are no longer providing much clinical benefit.

The society has also welcomed investment in innovative approaches to supporting patients and urged all pharmacists to refer people to such schemes.

Director for England at RPS, James Davies said: “Pharmacists are well-placed to help reduce inappropriate prescribing of high strength painkillers such as opioids and other addictive medicines.

“Pharmacy teams can also often spot repeat purchases of over the counter medicines by patients so are well placed to intervene and give advice on the management of chronic pain. Whilst opioids can play an important part in helping people with chronic pain there has long been a need for alternative approaches that are safer and more effective for patients.

“Pharmacists can improve patient care by conducting medication reviews to identify instances where opioids, benzodiazepines or other potentially addictive drugs are being prescribed inappropriately or in excessive quantities. They can then work with prescribers to adjust the patient’s medicines to reduce the risk of dependency or other adverse effects.”

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