Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

MTRAC Reviews - February 2012

MTRAC has issued two new Commissioning Support reviews in February 2012. The reviews cover buprenorphine and fentanyl transdermal patches.

The review for buprenorphine states that it is suitable for restricted prescribing under defined conditions in chronic non-cancer pain. The review came to this conclusion stating that the evidence for efficacy is relatively weak and the acquisition costs compared to oral sustained release morphine are unfavourable.

The review for fentanyl also states that it is suitable for restricted prescribing under defined conditions in chronic non-cancer pain. This review arrived at the same conclusion as above; that the evidence for efficacy is relatively weak and the acquisition costs compared to oral sustained release morphine are unfavourable.

Both reviews recommend that specific conditions are identified where transdermal products may be advantageous, for example patients who cannot tolerate tablet formulations, or have difficulty swallowing.

Action: Clinicians should be aware of these reviews and compare current practice to the recommendations, making changes where appropriate.

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