The guideline development group has made the following recommendation for research, based on its review of evidence, to improve NICE guidance and patient care in the future.
What are the most clinically effective and cost-effective methods of addressing patient and carer concerns about strong opioids, including anticipating and managing adverse effects, and engaging patients in prescribing decisions?
We know from qualitative work that patients do not always understand how to take strong opioids or the difference between sustained-release and rescue medication. Patients, their carers and some clinicians fear the adverse effects of these drugs and believe that strong opioids, especially morphine, can be negatively associated with adverse effects and death. To improve adherence and to enable patients and carers to benefit from the proven analgesic effects of strong opioids, research should be undertaken to determine how to address the main concerns of patients, the level of information they require and the best time and methods to deliver this. The benefits of greater involvement in this process by specialist nurses or pharmacists should also be examined in research.