Move comes as prescriptions for analgesics increase 60% in a decade
Monday, April 29, 2019
All opioid medicines in the UK will have prominent warnings saying they can cause addiction, the health secretary announced.
Matt Hancock acted after the figures in England and Wales showed a more than 60% increase in prescription opioid analgesics over the past decade.
People needed protection "from the darker side to painkillers," he said.
Under the plans, the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will have the power to insist that opioids carry warnings, following the recommendations of the UK's Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) opiate working group .
Dr. June Raine, director of MHRA's surveillance and risk management division, said: "This is an important first step in helping to minimize the risks of drug opioid dependence while helping patients get the right information right now right. support their care. "
The Department of Health (DOH) says the number of prescription drugs in England and Wales for opioid drugs has increased dramatically from more than 14 million in 2008 to 23 million last year. The DOH added that there are also some opioids available at the counter, such as codeine-based painkillers, which are weaker in strength but can also cause dependence.
From 2008 to 2018, the number of codeine-related deaths in England and Wales more than doubled to more than 150, he said.
In Scotland, codeine-related deaths increased to 43 in 2016, dropping to 27 in 2017, according to the National Records of Scotland. In Northern Ireland, there were 16 deaths related to codeine in 2017.
Dame Sally Davies, Medical Director of England, said: "We know that prolonged use of painkillers can lead to life-altering and sometimes life-threatening addictions – so I am very happy to see measures to increase awareness of the risks of codeine and prescribed drugs.
"It is vital that anyone who receives strong analgesics take them only while they are suffering from serious pain. As soon as the pain starts to ease, the drugs have done their job, and it is important to switch to drugs that do not have the same risk of addiction. "
Hancock added, "I was incredibly concerned about the recent rise in people addicted to opioid drugs.
"Painkillers have been a breakthrough in modern medicine and are extremely important in helping people cope with the pain next to their busy lives, but they should be treated with caution.
"We know that much of any painkiller can harm your health, and some opioids are highly addictive and can ruin lives as an illegal drug.
"Things are not as bad here as in America, but we must act now to protect people from the darker side of analgesics."