The World Health Organization publishes a Model List of Essential Medicines for Palliative Care

The World Health Organization publishes a Model List of Essential Medicines for Palliative Care

(courtesy of IAHPC press release)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published the new editions of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for Adults and for Children. The new editions of the model lists include several changes, two of which are very important for the field of palliative care:

  • The lists of medicines for palliative care which were originally located under the oncology section (8.4) have been moved to a new, separate section (section 2) called Medicines for Pain and Palliative Care. The new section 2 includes three subsections: Non opioids and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIMs); Opioid Analgesics; and Medicines for other symptoms common in palliative care.
  • A list of medications used to treat the most common symptoms occurring in palliative care. The previous edition of the WHO Model List did not have any medications for palliative care for adults but the following statement:

Section 8.4 - Medicines used in palliative care
The WHO Expert Committee recognizes the importance of listing specific medicines in the Palliative Care Section. Some medicines currently used in palliative care are included in the relevant sections of the Model List, according to their therapeutic use, e.g. analgesics. The Guidelines for Palliative Care that were referenced in the previous list are in need of update. The Committee expects applications for medicines needed for palliative care to be submitted for the next meeting. For palliative care medicines in children, see the second EMLc.

The new Pain and Palliative Care section in the WHO Model List includes 17 medications. The children’s Model List includes 14 medications.