Pediatricians at Canada’s University of Alberta studied the prevalence of opioid prescriptions for children.
Researchers interviewed 136 pediatric emergency room doctors in Canada. They asked whether the opioid crisis or concerns about potential addiction made them refrain from prescribing opioids for children with moderate to severe pain.
The physicians said they were minimally concerned. The physicians also noted there is a lack of guidelines for opioid use in children, and they are concern about side-effects.
Researchers are in the process of conducting additional interviews to determine the physicians’ thought processes when prescribing opioids to children.
In a separate study, the researchers asked more than 500 parents and caregivers about their willingness to accept an opioid prescription for their child. They discovered 33 percent would accept them for at-home use, and 50 percent would accept them for moderate pain.
Parents were concerned about side-effects, overdose, and addiction.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend opioids for children with moderate to severe pain that does not respond to nonopioid medication.
Researchers are working with the Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence to determine whether there is a link between short-term opioid use in children and addiction later in life.