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-  2019 

Specialist Clinicians’ Management of Dependence on Non-Prescription Medicines and Barriers to Treatment Provision: An Exploratory Mixed Methods Study Using Behavioural Theory

DOI: 10.3390/pharmacy7010025

Keywords: nonprescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, drug misuse, substance-related disorders, qualitative research, psychological theory

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The aim of the study was to establish how non-prescription medicine (NPM) dependence is treated by doctors in specialist substance misuse treatment services and to identify perceived barriers to providing treatment. An online survey was conducted to establish current practice and whether changes to service provision are needed to facilitate treatment (n = 83). Semi-structured interviews, based on the Theoretical Domains Framework, were conducted to derive a detailed exploration of suggested changes (n = 11). Most survey respondents had encountered cases of NPM dependence. Analgesics containing codeine were the most frequently NPMs of dependence mentioned by respondents. Most respondents were unaware of specific guidelines for the treatment of NPM dependence. The most frequently identified barriers to providing treatment identified by interviewees were limited resources or capacity and the challenges presented by this client group. There was a perception that this client group could be difficult to treat due to comorbidities, and these this client group perceived themselves to be different from people dependent on alcohol or illicit drugs. This study identified a clear need for specific clinical guidelines for the treatment of NPM dependence. Such guidance should be appropriate for specialist and generalist clinicians as the current pressure on resources may force more treatment into general practice. Appropriate care pathways need to be established and defined, and sufficient resources allocated to accommodate this client group


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