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Chronic Pain Treatment in the UK: Fewer Meds?

Guidelines from UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

England’s NICE—the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence—is advising that other types of pain management/treatment should be utilized before common pain medications. Nonpharmacologic suggestions include exercise, psychotherapy, acupuncture, and electrical modalities. In its draft guideline, NICE also recommends antidepressants, such as duloxetine, fluoxetine, paroxetine, citalopram, sertraline, or amitriptyline, be prescribed in lieu of opioids, NSAIDs, benzodiazepines.

The guidelines, for healthcare professionals and people (and their family/caregivers), covers assessing and managing chronic pain in those ≥16 years of age, and offers “recommendations on managing chronic primary pain (as defined in ICD-11) for which there is no other NICE guidance” and “aims to reduce distress and improve quality of life by ensuring a care plan informed by a person’s individual priorities, strengths, preferences, interests and abilities.” These guidelines were put together pre-COVID. The deadline for those wishing to comment on the draft guideline is September 14.


Read the guideline draft.

For more information, click here.

Holly Caster