Pain management services and the British Pain Society
Pain affects people across a wide range of specialties and there is increasing evidence to suggest that medicines might not always be the answer. In this series of interviews, Professor Roger Knaggs (Specialist Pharmacist and President, British Pain Society) describes some of the key issues in pain, how pharmacists can help and the role of the British Pain Society.
All pharmacists should be interested in pain and the focus of their practice should be on optimising medicines says Professor Knaggs.
Part of the work of the pain pharmacist is to identify ineffective pain treatment and help patients to develop self-management skills. The scale of opioid use disorder in the UK has not yet been quantified but “a sizable proportion of patients are certainly dependent upon their opioids”, he says. Better education about opioids and careful patient monitoring when opioids are first prescribed could be the keys to reducing opioid-dependence and achieving effective pain management.
Professor Knaggs is the newly-elected President of the British Pain Society – an organisation that he has worked with for about 15 years. The organisation has members working in all areas of pain management including acute post-operative pain, chronic pain and palliative care. During his presidency he hopes to see it develop more interaction with health care practitioners in primary care where the majority of patients are seen.
Patient care skills that have been honed in managing long-term conditions can be useful in the management of chronic pain, says Professor Knaggs. For pharmacists with an interest in pain, “One very good place to start …. is acute surgical pain and promoting rational use of medicines…”, he advises.
Roger Knaggs BSc BMedSci PhD EDPM FFRPS FRPharmS FFPMRCA, is Associate Professor in Clinical Pharmacy Practice, University of Nottingham and Specialist Pharmacist in pain management, Primary Integrated Community Solutions Ltd.