Intended for healthcare professionals


Cannabis based drugs: GPs should be able to prescribe to improve access, NICE says

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 09 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5107
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London

GPs and other prescribers such as pharmacists and nurses should be able to take on prescribing of cannabis based medicinal products once it has been initiated by specialists in expert centres, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has proposed in draft guidance.1

Expanding prescribing as part of a shared care agreement, after specialists have assessed patients and initiated treatment with cannabis based products, would improve patients’ access to products, allow a more holistic approach to care, and may reduce costs to the NHS, says NICE.

The guideline was fast tracked after cannabis based products were reclassified last year to allow specialist doctors to prescribe them in exceptional cases where patients’ clinical needs could not be met by licensed drugs.1

The only licensed cannabis based drug that NICE recommends is nabilone as an add-on treatment for adults with nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy whose symptoms have not responded to conventional drugs. …

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