Pharmacist prescribing in a chronic pain management clinic

A multidisciplinary chronic pain management clinic involving a pharmacist independent prescriber has now been commissioned after a three-month pilot. It is estimated that £10,500 was saved in annualised drug expenditure for the 29 patients reviewed by the pharmacist during the pilot. This is a significant saving, achieved with an average of a 33% reduction in pain intensity for patients who previously were in uncontrolled chronic pain. The pharmacist independent prescriber played a key role in cost-effective and safe prescribing.

The clinic is in ‘Tier 2’ of the chronic pain management service in Gateshead and patients are usually referred to it by their GP if they have not responded to the ‘Tier 1’ GP-led service that offers standardised treatment protocols. ‘Tier 3’ is consultant-led, hospital-based care. The article describes how the clinic works, the specialist interventions that are available, and the role of the pain specialist pharmacist. Some patients referred to the service had experienced chronic pain for more than 40 years – often, symptoms had not improved in the face of a variety of pharmacological interventions, so the improvements in pain scores found are deemed clinically significant.

Thomas M. Is pharmacist prescribing a painless alternative in chronic pain management? Pharmacy Management 2012; 28(4).