Barriers and facilitators to opioid deprescribing among Advanced Nurse Practitioners: A qualitative interview study

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Aim: To explore the experiences primary care Advanced Nurse Practitioners have had in relation to deprescribing opioids in chronic non‐malignant pain. Design: A qualitative interview study. Methods: Primary care Advanced Nurse Practitioners were recruited from across the Northern Ireland GP Federations. Data collection for this study took place between April and June 2022. In total, 10 semi‐structured online interviews were conducted. Interviews were audio and visually recorded, transcribed verbatim and interpreted using a thematic analysis framework. The COREQ criteria were used to guide the reporting of this study. Results: The Advanced Nurse Practitioners experienced several challenges associated with opioid deprescribing and the implementation of current chronic pain guidelines. The main barriers identified were difficulties engaging patients in deprescribing discussions, a lack of availability of supportive therapies and poor access to secondary care services. The barriers identified directly impacted on their ability to deliver best practice which resulted in a sense of professional powerlessness. Conclusion: The experiences of the Advanced Nurse Practitioners demonstrate that opioid deprescribing in patients with chronic pain is challenging, and implementation of current chronic pain guidelines is difficult. Impact: This study contributes to existing literature on the topic of reducing opioid prescribing and as far as the authors are aware, is the first study to examine the experiences of primary care advanced nurse practitioners in this context. These findings will be of interest to other primary care practitioners, and prescribers involved in the management of chronic non‐malignant pain. Patient or Public Contribution: No patient or public contribution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2500-2511
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number6
Early online date11 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 11 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Advanced Nursing published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • chronic pain
  • deprescribing
  • qualitative research
  • nurse
  • opioid
  • primary care


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