Prescribing of opioids (total oral morphine equivalence) by all Sub-ICB Locations

Why it matters: The Opioids Aware project seeks to improve prescribing of opioid analgesia. There is little evidence that opioids are helpful in long term pain, and the risk of harm increases significantly above 120mg morphine (or equivalent) per day, without much increase in benefit.

The NHS England National Medicines Optimisation Opportunities for 2023/24 identify reducing opioid use in chronic non-cancer pain as an area for improvement.

This measure describes the total Oral Morphine Equivalence (OME) in ALL opioid prescribing (excluding prescribing for addiction) including low-dose opioids in drugs such as co-codamol and co-dydramol. This measure is experimental and should be used with caution, as OME conversions vary in different reference sources. We have amended the measure to take into account changes in equivalency in the BNF.

We have written a paper about the increase in opioid prescribing in England since 1999, which can be found in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Description: Total opioid prescribing (as oral morphine equivalence) per 1000 patients


Tagged as: Standard, Opioids, National medicines optimisation opportunities, Pain, Safety (or browse all measures)

Sub-ICB Locations are ordered by mean percentile over the past six months. Each chart shows the results for the individual Sub-ICB Location, plus deciles across all Sub-ICB Locations in the NHS in England.

View measure for NHS England combined →

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