Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Bad medicine: co-codamol

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 20 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1821
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

The UK Home Office has recently highlighted the sharp rise in prescribing, misuse, and deaths linked to tramadol.1 We’ve known tramadol as a problem in general practice for years. And death from prescription drugs is but the merest tip of an addiction iceberg, with at least 800 other misusers for every death, according to US data.2 The UK has been slow to acknowledge misuse of prescription drugs, a problem described as an epidemic in the US, where prescribed opioids kill 15 000 people a year2 and misuse of prescription drugs …

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