SafeScript is now being rolled out throughout Victoria.
It is a system of tracking the prescribing and dispensing of high risk medicines which include the following:
All schedule 8 drugs All benzodiazepines All z-drugs Quetiapine Codeine
In due course I would imagine that the gabapentinoids (gabapentin and pregabalin), tramadol and Tapentadol would be considered for monitoring, but these drugs have not yet made it onto the watchlist.
Recently I did a locum in a practice far, far away, somewhere in Victoria and I came across what I considered to be totally egregious and inappropriate opioid prescribing.
Examples include the use of fentanyl 50 mcg patches for undiagnosed right elbow pain and long term (months) use of “Panadeine Forte” for toothache.
My attempts at managing these situations were undermined by the patients’ “regular doctor.”
I have recovered from my original disappointment, sure in the knowledge that in April 2020, SafeScript will be mandatory: no longer will inappropriate prescribing be swept under the carpet, for the carpet will have disappeared.
Author: Ferghal Armstrong
Ferghal is an experienced medical educator and teaches the subject of pharmacotherapy to other doctors.