NICE publishes 100th clinical guideline
NICE has today published its 100th clinical guideline, 8 years on from when the very first commissioned guideline, on the treatment and care of individuals with schizophrenia, was released.
Our 100th clinical guideline calls for the NHS to improve how it treats people with physical health problems caused by alcohol misuse, one of the major problems facing today's society.
Clinical guidelines are recommendations by NICE on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS, that are developed by expert groups using the best available evidence.
NICE's Guidelines Advisory Committee was first established in 2000 to advise on the development of clinical guidelines, with the first commissioned guideline published two years later. Since then, NICE has gone on to publish clinical guidance covering a wide range of clinical areas from antenatal care to preventing venous thromboembolisms.
In 2006, NICE published clinical guidelines on obesity to encourage the NHS, local authorities, schools, employers and town planners to tackle a growing threat to the health of our nation. This was the first time evidence-based recommendations, integrating advice on prevention and treatment, had been issued at a national level.
The alcohol guidance is published at a time when it is estimated that around 1 in 4 men and women in the UK regularly drink above the recommended safe limits, which can cause them to suffer a variety of long term physical health problems such as liver disease, pancreatitis and Wernicke's encephalopathy, a brain disorder caused by a lack of thiamine - vitamin B1.
Recognising that the NHS needs a standardised approach to treat the physical complications caused by excessive alcohol consumption, NICE has published guidance which outlines which diagnostic tests and treatments healthcare professionals should use, and when.
Among the recommendations, NICE advises that heavy drinkers at risk of experiencing seizures and delirium tremens should be admitted into hospital immediately and assessed by an experienced healthcare professional for planned medically-assisted withdrawal.
All under-16s who are in acute alcohol withdrawal should be referred to hospital for physical and psychological assessment, in addition to medication, while people with advanced liver disease should be considered for an assessment for a liver transplant if their treatment has not been successful and if they have abstained from alcohol for at least three months.
In the coming months, NICE will be publishing clinical guidelines on topics as diverse as Barrett's oesophagus, bedwetting and motor neurone disease.
2 June 2010
This page was last updated: 01 June 2010