Palliative care and independent prescribers: ‘off-label’ guidance

All prescribers should have consistent regulatory guidance for ‘off-label’ prescribing in palliative care, according to the conclusions of a survey of over 300 doctors, nurses and pharmacists who prescribe in this area.

The non-medical prescribers were less likely to follow the ‘must-dos’ of the relevant guidance, but this is partly because nurses’ and pharmacists’ guidance is based on an older, less pragmatic, version of the General Medical Council (GMC) guidance that doctors use. The proportion of doctors adhering to GMC guidance also compared favourably with a previous study.

Culshaw J, Kendall D and Wilcock A. Off-label prescribing in palliative care: A survey of independent prescribers. Palliat Med 2012; 21 November, published online ahead of print.