The following table shows the number of nicotine dependence prescription items dispensed in the community, via an FP10 form, in England 2010-17. There are various other routes in which such medication can be supplied to a patient from the National Health Service including from community pharmacies via voucher schemes and a direct supply to patients from a Patient Group Direction, this data is not collected centrally.
Total nicotine dependence
Prescriptions are written on a prescription form known as an FP10. Each single item written on the form is counted as a prescription item.
Prescription information is taken from the PCA system, supplied by NHS Prescription Services, a division of NHS Business Services Authority, and is based on a full analysis of all prescriptions dispensed in the community i.e. by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England. Also included are prescriptions written in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man but dispensed in England. The data do not cover drugs dispensed in hospitals, including mental health trusts, or private prescriptions.
Prescribers are general practitioners, hospital doctors, dentists and non-medical prescribers such as nurses and pharmacists.
The PCA system uses the therapeutic classifications defined in the BNF using the classification system prior to edition 70. Information on why a drug is prescribed is not available in this dataset. Since drugs can be prescribed to treat more than one condition, it may not be possible to separate the different conditions for which a drug may have been prescribed.
The primary purpose of the BNF is to provide information for clinicians. The format of the BNF was changed with Edition 70 (September 2015 - March 2016) to make it more user friendly. However, the NHS Business Service Authority, who process dispensed prescription forms and collects dispensed prescribing data and produce the PCA data, continue to use the old BNF classification system to code medicines, which has become widely used in the United Kingdom as a classification to allow comparisons between drug groups. For example, it is used to report cost and trend in medicines use and supports several NHS Digital official publications. The data are used in many NHS IT systems.