Opioids can provide good analgesia when used for acute and palliative pain, but there is little evidence of benefit in chronic non-malignant pain.
NPSA RRR05 2008:
Reducing dosing errors with opiates. All healthcare professionals involved in the prescribing, dispensing, or administration of opioid medications have a responsibility to check the intended dose is safe for the individual patient.
Opioid patches do not feature on the formulary but there is a group of patients in whom their use is justifiable and appropriate e.g. those with intolerable side effects to morphine, dysphagia, poor compliance or poor response to oral medication. Patches are not suitable for management of acute pain. Caution should be exercised in the elderly with regard to the slow onset and long duration of action with the patches. There can be increased absorption with febrile patients or with the use of electric blankets or heat pads.
When used opioid patches should be prescribed by brand
Additional NICE Guidance:
NICE CG140: Palliative care for adults - strong opioids for pain relief
NICE NG61: End of life care for infants, children and young people with life-limiting conditions: planning and management
NICE NG59: Low back pain and sciatica in over 16s: assessment and management
Other useful links and documents: