- Prescribing Advice for GPs - https://www.prescriber.org.uk -

MeReC Bulletin - Opiate Dependence

The National Prescribing Centre (NPC) has published a MeReC Bulletin (PDF) that provides an update on the drug treatment of opiate dependence in primary care.

The bulletin provides a background to scale of opiate dependence detailing the physical and mental health problems as well as the wider social problems associated with illicit drug use. The bulletin also defines the aims and principles of treatment and a discussion of the evidence supporting maintenance and detoxification.

The current guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is summarised into several key points:

Finally, the bulletin identifies sources of evidence that support 'real life' benefits of treatment programmes and details the potential risks of drug treatment.

Action: Clinicians involved in the treatment of patients with opiate dependence will find this bulletin useful and informative.