Opioid Dispensing Practices in the Acute Care Setting: A Retrospective Study


  • Mohamad Moussa Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Toledo and Promedica Toledo Hospital,
  • Lekha Vemuru College of Medicine, University of Toledo
  • Robert Dohar Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Toledo
  • Daniel Lubarsky College of Medicine, University of Toledo
  • Sadik A. Khuder Department of Medicine Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Toledo




Opioid, Emergency, Acute, Dispense, Ohio


Background: Ohio remains one of the most afflicted states nationally with 46.3 per 100 000 deaths due to drug overdose. Opioids are commonly administered in emergency departments for the management of pain. Given the high volume of patients presenting with pain, emergency clinicians must be cognizant of responsible opioid dispensing practices. Ohio established guidelines in April 2012 to provide a general approach for responsible opioid prescribing practices in the emergency setting. The purpose of this study assesses clinician opioid dispensing before and after the implementation of the Ohio Opioid Prescribing Guidelines.

Methods: The study design used retrospective data analysis of opioid medications ordered by emergency clinicians to be administered in the emergency room between January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2017, at the University of Toledo Medical Center. A segmented regression analysis with an interrupted time series was used to determine impact.

Results: All opioid medication usage showed a significant decrease after guideline implementation except for morphine and fentanyl which showed statistically significant increases in administration over time (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: There was a significant decrease in the use of opioids since the implementation of the Ohio Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, yet morphine and fentanyl use has generally increased across all age groups. Age demographics frequently receiving opioids in the emergency room have seemed to shift over time as well as specific opioid drugs dispensed for the management of pain in certain age groups. Further study is needed to evaluate the use of opioids prescribed by emergency physicians after discharge from the emergency department.






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