Around 35% of pharmacists speak to adult patients about acute pain two-to-five times per day, according to our 2018 survey of over 1,000 members of The Royal Pharmaceutical Society. With the introduction of restrictions on prescribing over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics by NHS England, more patients will likely present to the pharmacy for advice. This presents both a challenge to ensure that pharmacy teams can provide the correct advice and an opportunity to demonstrate that they are best placed to help patients manage self-limiting conditions.
However, our survey also worryingly revealed that more than 20% of respondents would recommend co-codamol as first-line treatment for migraine, which goes against guidelines. Results also demonstrated inconsistent advice was being given to patients about OTC analgesics.
This editorial campaign, designed to be a long-term programme, aims to challenge these existing behaviours, by supporting understanding of the evidence base and its application, as well as providing pharmacists and their teams with the skills to apply best practice in the management of acute pain.
We have designed a three-step editorial campaign. Step one, we will explain the need to challenge existing behaviours and knowledge base and champion the role of pharmacy in supporting patients manage acute pain; step two will provide you with the learning resources that outline best clinical practice and latest evidence, and step three will support the necessary changes to make a positive impact on patient care.
Steps 2 and 3 of this campaign will be published periodically over the course of Spring 2019.
This campaign is designed to be a long-term programme helping pharmacists to put patients at the centre of the care pathway and promote appropriate evidence-based self-care for the management of acute pain.
Parts 2 and 3 of this campaign will be published periodically over the course of Spring 2019 and will contain materials on:
How to understand the efficacy and safety of oral OTC analgesics in the context of acute pain relief;
How to correctly interpret clinical data, including the different types of studies used to assess pain;
How to consult with patients, implement clinical guidance and apply the evidence base.