Prescribing drugs of dependence in general practice, Part A

4. Accountable prescribing
4.3 Providing patients with other (often better) management options
☰ Table of contents

Prescribing drugs of dependence should be seen as an adjunct to care, and not regarded as the primary treatment regimen.

For many of the conditions which drugs of dependence are used, non-drug interventions are often more effective and have sustained results.62–67 Where there is good evidence for non-drug interventions, GPs should consider these as first-line therapy. GPs need to be aware of the evidence for allied health treatments and be able to offer these (in-house or through referral) to patients when they need them.

There is substantial evidence that anxiety, depression, sleep and chronic pain problems, including headache and migraine, can be effectively treated with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and other psychological approaches.62 Further, there is evidence that in many cases, psychological therapies are at least equivalent and sometimes superior to the use of medicines to address these issues.62–67

In cases where the use of medicines is indicated, concurrent psychological therapy is typically superior to either therapy alone.68

Refer to individual drug guides for further information.

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