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Researchers recommend greater action to promote best practice as a new study reveals a rise in prescriptions of opioids for treating chronic pain rise between 1998 and 2018.

Fallen container of pills

A review of opioid prescribing in the UK has shown that UK doctors are prescribing more and stronger opioid drugs to patients. The research showed a 34% rise between 1998 and 2016, which when corrected for total oral morphine equivalency increased to 127%. However, the study also showed a decline in prescriptions between 2016 and 2017.

The research also showed a wide variation in opioid prescribing across the country, with the highest prescribers in northern and coastal areas and the lowest in Greater London. Larger practice list size, ruralness and deprivation are all also associated with greater high-dose prescribing rates.

Find out more (University of Oxford website)

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