First national survey on opioid prescriptions in Thailand

Categories: Research.

Despite recent improvements in the provision of palliative care in Thailand, pain has remained under-treated. The researchers set out to gain an overview of the regulation of opioids, the role of multidisciplinary teams (MDT) and the dynamics between members of the MDT in the regulation of opioids in Thai government hospitals.

To carry out the research, a questionnaire was developed by the research collaborative group of the Asia Pacific Hospice Network (APHN) and data were collected from government hospitals in Thailand between January to April 2012.

Key findings:

  • Nearly all hospitals (96.4%) required doctors to sign a special form every time they prescribed oral morphine.
  • The majority of hospitals (62.4%) have no specific regulation of opioid amount per prescription.
  • Fifty-seven hospitals limited the amount of prescribing oral opioids to one month’s supply of medication. The remainder limited the amount of prescribing oral opioids for 2-3 months’ supply of medication.
  • Three-fourths of hospitals totally prohibited prescribing oral opioids by palliative care Advance Practice Nurses.
  • In terminal patients who could not go to the hospitals, caregivers were permitted to collect the opioids on behalf of patients in nearly 80% of hospitals.

Read the full study report: ‘Regulation of Opioid Drugs in Thai Government Hospitals: Thailand National Survey 2012’ in Indian J Palliat Care. 2014 Jan-Apr; 20(1): 6–11. doi: 10.4103/0973-1075.125548

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