Opioid prescription rates decrease for pediatric patients

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Opioid prescription rates for patients 10-18 years old fell 52 percent between 2004 and 2017, according to a study released as part of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ (AAOS) Virtual Education Experience.

Researchers examined data from the Pediatric Health Information System to identify the emergency room and clinic visits for 10 common pediatric fractures and dislocations. All the patients were treated and sent home the same day.

The researchers discovered patients between 13 and 17 years old were 11 percent more likely to receive an opioid prescription than younger patients; African-American patients were 39 percent less likely to receive an opioid prescription than Caucasian patients; 54.3 percent of patients received at least one dose of an opioid during their visit; 73.2 percent of the patients were male; and 52 percent of patients were insured through a nongovernment plan.

“The results indicate that the efforts to combat earlier exposure to opioids are having success in changing the prescribing habits of physicians in an acute care setting,” said Dr. Divya Talwar, Division of Orthopaedics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia clinical outcomes research manager. “However, we were definitely surprised that 54 percent of patients were still getting an opioid for an injury when they shouldn’t, demonstrating we still have work to do to reduce rates further.”

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