Prescribing data, metrics or supporting resources

Prescribing data, metrics or supporting resources

At this point, the following prescribing data, indicators and resources have been identified to support this topic.

The Care Quality Commission controlled drugs annual report for 2017 found that the top 6 schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs prescribed in primary care (number of items) were tramadol, buprenorphine, morphine sulfate, methadone, oxycodone and fentanyl.

The total use in primary care in England of gabapentin has increased year on year from 1.5 million prescriptions dispensed in 2007 to 7.1 million in 2017 and 7.4 million in 2018 (4% relative increase from 2017 and 393% increase from 2007). Pregabalin use has increased from 0.7 million prescriptions dispensed in 2007 to 6.3 million in 2017 and 7.0 million in 2018 (11% relative increase from 2017 and 900% increase from 2007; Prescription cost analysis – England 2018).

The NHS Business Services Authority produces 2 sets of reports for controlled drug monitoring:

  • comparator charts available for the last 2 quarters' prescribing data

  • analysis reports that can be accessed through the information services portal.

These reports monitor the prescribing of schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs to enable controlled drug accountable officers to highlight potential causes for concern within the prescribing of controlled drugs through demonstrating variance in prescribing between organisations, and by identifying prescribers or organisations exhibiting unusual prescribing behaviour (NHS Business Services Authority controlled drug monitoring).

A series of indicators have been developed to inform safer prescribing practice to help pharmacists, clinicians and patients review prescribed medication and prevent harm. These include indicators about pain.