PurposePrisoner access to opiate-based analgesics and gabapentinoids is a concern to prisons through illicit trading. The purpose of this paper is to describe patient needs following introduction of nine pilot chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) clinics for chronic pain in three prisons (two male and one female) in the South of England. The study evaluated the effectiveness of this model and assessed the wider practical implementation issues.Design/methodology/approachClinical notes were reviewed for 63 consultations, anonymised and recorded for secondary analysis.FindingsAlongside CNCP, high levels of substance misuse, physical and mental health histories were noted, especially for female patients. Amitriptyline, pregabalin, gabapentin were the main frontline analgesics prescribed prior to assessment. A total of 41 per cent of patients did not change their medication following the consultation; 25 per cent had their medication increased or reintroduced (greater for women prisoners); with one-third (33 per cent) of patients reducing the prescription of strong opioids and gabapentinoids. Significant differences were noted between male and female patients. Prisoners were amenable to changes in medication to facilitate access to work and other therapeutic interventions.Social implicationsThe prescribing of analgesics has largely been couched in terms of disruption to the prison regime through illicit trading. This study highlights the need to place CNCP within wider contexts of substance misuse, physical and emotional health. There is an opportunity to develop a rehabilitative rather than palliative approach to pain management. Gender specific approaches for female patients should be considered.Originality/valueFew studies of CNCP have been conducted within a prison environment.
International Journal of Prisoner Health – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 17, 2018