UK guidelines and unnecessary deaths

1 year ago
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COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing symptoms (including at the end of life) in the community

https://web.archive.org/web/20200409054527/https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng163/resources/covid19-rapid-guideline-managing-symptoms-including-at-the-end-of-life-in-the-community-pdf-66141899069893

Correlate the use of these drugs with ‘covid’ deaths

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/deaths?areaType=nation&areaName=England

Spike in deaths, spring 2020

2 Treatment and care planning

2.3 For patients with pre-existing advanced comorbidities, find out if they have advance care plans or advance decisions to refuse treatment,

including do not attempt resuscitation decisions.

Document this clearly and take account of these in planning care.

Table 1 Treatments for managing cough in adults aged 18 years and over

only if cough is distressing: morphine sulfate oral solution (10 mg/5 ml)

2.5 mg to 5 mg when required every 4 hours

Increase up to 5 mg to 10 mg every 4 hours as required

Table 4 End-of-life treatments for managing breathlessness for patients aged 18 years and over

For associated agitation or distress: midazolam 2.5 mg to 5 mg subcutaneously when required

Sedation and opioid use should not be withheld because of a fear of causing respiratory depression

6 Managing breathlessness

6.5 Consider an opioid and benzodiazepine combination (see tables 4 and 5) for patients with COVID-19 who:

are at the end of life and

have moderate to severe breathlessness and

are distressed.

Consider concomitant use of an antiemetic and a regular stimulant laxative. At the time of publication (April 2020), opioids and benzodiazepines did not have a UK marketing authorisation for moderate to severe breathlessness (see the General Medical Council's guidance on prescribing unlicensed medicines for further information).

Midazolam

https://openprescribing.net/analyse/#org=regional_team&numIds=0408020W0,1501041T0,0408020V0,0401010Q0&denom=nothing&selectedTab=chart

Spike in midazolam use, spring 2020

Increased levels of use through to Autumn 2022

https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drugs/midazolam/

Important safety information

For all benzodiazepines

MHRA/CHM advice:

Benzodiazepines and opioids: reminder of risk of potentially fatal respiratory depression (March 2020)

Levomepromazine

https://openprescribing.net/analyse/#org=CCG&numIds=0402010L0AAAAAA&denom=nothing&selectedTab=chart

Spike in use, spring 2020

Somewhat increased levels of use through to Autumn 2022

phenothiazine neuroleptic

https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drugs/levomepromazine/

Restlessness and confusion in palliative care

Nausea and vomiting in palliative care

Schizophrenia

Haloperidol

https://openprescribing.net/analyse/#org=CCG&numIds=0402010J0AAACAC&denom=nothing&selectedTab=chart

Spike in use, spring 2020

Increased levels of use through to Autumn 2022

https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drugs/haloperidol/

Nausea and vomiting in palliative care

Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder

Acute delirium [when non-pharmacological treatments ineffective]

So

How many of these deaths were covid?

How many of these deaths were iatrogenic?

To precisely what degree did this make covid look more deadly that in was?

How did this artificially inflated death date influence national policy?

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