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MP58: Have opioid prescription by emergency physicians changed significantly over five years?

  • M. Wei (a1), M. Da Silva (a1) and J. Perry (a1)

Abstract

Introduction: It is believed by some that emergency physicians prescribe more opioids than required to manage patients’ pain, and this may contribute to opioid misuse. The objective of our study was to assess if there has been a change in opioid prescribing practices by emergency physicians over time for undifferentiated abdominal pain. Methods: A medical record review for adult patients presenting at two urban academic tertiary care emergency departments was conducted for two distinct time periods; the years of 2012 and 2017. The first 500 patients within each time period with a discharge diagnosis of “abdominal pain” or “abdominal pain not yet diagnosed” were included. Data were collected regarding analgesia received in the emergency department and opioid prescriptions written. Opioids were standardized into morphine equivalent doses to compare quantities of opioids prescribed. Analyses included t-test for continuous and chi-square for categorical data. Results: 1,000 patients were included in our study. The mean age was 42.0 years and 69.6% of patients were female. Comparing 2017 to 2012, there was a non-significant decrease in opioid prescriptions written for patients discharged directly by emergency physicians, from 17.8% to 14.4% (p = 0.14). Mean opioid quantities per prescription decreased from 130.4 milligrams of morphine equivalents per prescription to 98.9 milligrams per prescription (p = 0.002). 13.9% of opioid prescriptions in 2017 were for more than 3 days, which is a decrease from 28.1% in 2012. During the emergency department care, there was an increase in foundational analgesia use prior to initiating opioids from 17.6% to 26.8% (p = 0.001). There was also a decrease for within ED opioid analgesia use from 40.0% to 32.8% (p = 0.018). Conclusion: Opioid prescription rates did not change significantly during our study. However, physicians reduced the quantity of opioids per prescription and used less opioid analgesia in the emergency department for abdominal pain of undetermined etiology.

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MP58: Have opioid prescription by emergency physicians changed significantly over five years?

  • M. Wei (a1), M. Da Silva (a1) and J. Perry (a1)

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