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Medical Professionals' Perspectives on Prescribed and Over-The-Counter Medicines Containing Codeine: A Cross-Sectional Study

Van Hout, MC, Foley, M, Carney, T, Rich, E, Parry, C and DeLuca, P (2016) Medical Professionals' Perspectives on Prescribed and Over-The-Counter Medicines Containing Codeine: A Cross-Sectional Study. British Medical Journal, 7 (6). ISSN 0959-8138

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Objectives: To explore prescribing practitioners' perspectives on prescribed codeine use, their ability to identify dependence and their options for treatment in the UK.
Design: Cross-sectional design using a questionnaire containing closed-ended and open-ended items.
Setting: A nationally representative sample of prescribing professionals working in the UK.
Participants: 300 prescribing professionals working in primary care and pain settings.
Results: Participants stated that they regularly reviewed patients prescribed codeine, understood the risks of dependence and recognised the potential for codeine to be used recreationally. Over half the participants felt patients were unaware of the adverse health consequences of high doses of combination codeine medicines. One-quarter of participants experienced patient resentment when asking about medicines containing codeine. Just under 40% of participants agreed that it was difficult to identify problematic use of codeine without being informed by the patient and did not feel confident in identification of codeine dependence. Less than 45% of all participants agreed that codeine dependence could be managed effectively in general practice. Slow or gradual withdrawal was the most popular suggested treatment in managing dependence. Education and counselling was also emphasised in managing codeine-dependent patients in primary care.
Conclusions: Communication with patients should involve assessment of patient understanding of their medication, including the risk of dependence. There is a need to develop extra supports for professionals including patient screening tools for identifying codeine dependence. The support structure for managing codeine-dependent patients in primary care requires further examination.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2017 11:12
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2023 12:33
DOI or ID number: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011725
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7658
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