Often, patients being prescribed opioids for their persistent pain do not know how little benefit they offer over the long term, or how prevalent and varied are the side effects people experience.
This A4 sheet, designed to be used by clinicians in their consultations with patients, is a simple way to raise the question of benefits versus side effects.
Using a ‘lottery scratch card’ metaphor, the sheet explains that while opioids do not actually reduce pain for around 80% of people in the long term, their side effects can be both wide ranging and serious.
It lists many of the side effects, and provides a number of statistics to show how common these side effects are.
Working through the list with your patient, ask them to tick those side effects they are experiencing, as a starting point for introducing the idea of a medicines review.
This is a pilot version of a new resource which has been developed in conjunction with Dr David Tomson and North Tyneside CCG. Live Well with Pain is currently trialling it with a number of clinicians working with people with persistent pain.