Research Article

Effect of restrictions on prescribing patterns for dextropropoxyphene.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 06 September 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:651
  1. G M Shenfield,
  2. A N Jones,
  3. J W Paterson


    Prescribing of compound analgesics containing dextropropoxyphene was limited to consultants only in a teaching hospital. Inpatient prescribing (mainly by junior staff) fell immediately to very low levels but outpatient prescribing (by consultants) fell more slowly to about one-third of the original level, suggesting that patients and doctors find dextropropoxyphene compounds useful. Prescriptions for paracetamol increased but so did those for other compound analgesics, particularly those containing high doses of codeine, indicating a belief that compound analgesics have a role in treatment. Restrictions may produce unexpected results and monitoring is essential, but the method of audit used by pharmacies is not suitable for detailed analysis.