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Strengthening prevention & partnerships

New system to help improve the safe use of high-risk medicines

22 June 2022

A new system to help improve the safe use of high-risk medicines, SafeScript NSW, is now accessible in South Western Sydney.

What is SafeScript NSW?

SafeScript NSW is computer software which provides prescribers (general practitioners, other medical specialists and nurse practitioners) and pharmacists with real-time information about a patient’s prescribing and dispensing history for certain high-risk medicines. These are known as monitored medicines and include opioids (eg codeine, morphine or oxycodone) and benzodiazepines (eg alprazolam, diazepam or nitrazepam).

How will SafeScript NSW help make the use of high-risk medicines safer?

Some monitored medicines taken in high doses or when taken with other medicines, can be dangerous, and even cause death. In 2019, there were 1,644 unintentional deaths due to drug overdoses in Australia. There were 429 (26 per cent) deaths due to pharmaceutical opioids and 582 (35 per cent) deaths involving benzodiazepines. SafeScript NSW aims to help reduce harm from monitored medicines and save lives.

How will SafeScript NSW affect what medicines I’ll be prescribed?

SafeScript NSW does not tell a health practitioner what to do or whether a medicine should or should not be prescribed or dispensed. This decision remains with the prescriber and pharmacist as they are best placed to consult with their patient and determine the safest and best option based on their individual health needs.

What is included in the monitored medicines list?

An expert panel was established to advise NSW Health on the medicines that should be monitored in SafeScript NSW.

NSW monitored medicines includes:

Category

Medicine

Opioids

Including but not limited to buprenorphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, pethidine, tapentadol, tramadol

Benzodiazepines (prescribed for anxiety or sleep)

Including but not limited to alprazolam, bromazepam, clobazam, clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, midazolam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, temazepam

Other sleeping aids

zolpidem, zopiclone

Psychostimulants (prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy)

dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine, methylphenidate

Other

ketamine, pregabalin, quetiapine, cannabis based medicines in Schedule 8
All other Schedule 8 medicines (Controlled Drugs) not listed above

Where to find more information

Visit SafeScript NSW for more information.

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