Codeinefree is a signatory on the Addiction to Medicines Consensus Statement

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Codeinefree is a signatory on the Addiction to Medicines Consensus Statement

Postby mark » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:17 am

Medical bodies unite to combat addiction to medicines

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists
(RCPsych) today (16/1/13) publish a signed consensus statement aimed at reducing patient
addiction to medicines such as tranquilisers and painkillers.

Supported by professional groups, specialist service providers and voluntary bodies
representing 16 organisations, it cautions against long-term prescribing of medicines which
carry a risk of addiction, except in exceptional circumstances, and recommends rigorous and
holistic regular reviews by practitioners with suitable expertise and understanding.
The statement calls on health and social care professionals across the statutory and voluntary
sectors, in partnership with service users, to work together to reduce the risk of patient
addiction to medicines and to support those who are dependent.

The statement acknowledges the issues and challenges faced by some patients who have
dependency to prescribed or over the counter medications. It highlights the extreme caution
that must be taken when reducing and stopping any medication to avoid serious risks of
withdrawal and the need to enlist specialist help and advice to manage the physical and
psychological aspects of the conditions these patients experience.

The Consensus Statement is available on the Policy areas of the RCGP

and RCPsych websites

Professor Clare Gerada, Chair of the RCGP, said: Medicines such as tranquilisers do work for
many patients but they need to fully understand the risks associated with these drugs and be
in a position to make informed choices about their treatment and care plans, including
seeking agreement on the duration and review of any proposed course of medication or

GPs are well placed to work in partnership with other agencies including the voluntary and
charitable sector many of whom offer advice and support including groups who can provide
peer to peer support along with vital patient education and information.

This approach has been shown to be successful in helping patients to slowly adjust their
treatment and achieve their recovery goals, including providing them with more access to
alternatives such as psychological therapies and physical rehabilitation for pain relief.

GPs and health professionals are already helping these patients to reduce their medication
and understand all the options but there is general agreement that we all need to do more.
We are very grateful to have had the support of the NTA and the Royal College of
Psychiatrists in drawing up this statement and hope it will have a big impact on patient care
in what can be a difficult area.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Emma Whicher, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
Addiction psychiatrists are increasingly working with people who have developed dependence
problems with prescribed or over the counter medication. Although these medications are
beneficial to many people, awareness of the alternatives and risks is also important. This
statement recognises the problem and supports people in their recovery. In addition treatment
is available and effective for people who develop addiction to prescribed or over the counter

The RCGP has also developed factsheets for GPs and their teams which will be available
shortly to be followed by an online learning module for GPs, to inform their own continuing
professional development to ensure they are kept abreast of the latest treatments and
developments in this area.



RCGP Press office 020 3188 7574/7575/7576

Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

The Consensus Statement on Addiction to Medicines is available on the RCGP and RCPsych
websites. It has been signed by:
Royal College of Psychiatrists


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