Opioid prescribing practices in trauma patients at discharge: An exploratory retrospective chart analysis

Premachandran P., Nippak P., Begum H., Meyer J., McFarlan A.

Medicine (United States), vol.101, no.42, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 101 Issue: 42
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1097/md.0000000000031047
  • Journal Name: Medicine (United States)
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: hydromorphone, injury severity score, Morphine Milligram Equivalents per day MME, day, opioid prescription, trauma care
  • TED University Affiliated: No


© 2022 the Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.This study examined the opioid prescribing patterns at discharge in the trauma center of a major Canadian hospital and compared them to the guidelines provided by the Illinois surgical quality improvement collaborative (ISQIC), a framework that has been recognized as being associated with reduced risk. This was a retrospective chart review of patient data from the trauma registry between January 1, 2018, and October 31, 2019. A total of 268 discharge charts of naïve opioid patients were included in the analysis. A Morphine Milligram Equivalents per day (MME/day) was computed for each patient who was prescribed opioids and compared with standard practice guidelines. About 75% of patients were prescribed opioids. More males (75%) than females (25%) were prescribed opioids to patients below 65 years old (91%). Best practice guidelines were followed in most cases. Only 16.6% of patients were prescribed over 50 mg MME/day, the majority (80.9%) were prescribed opioids for =<3 days and only 1% for >7 days. Only 7.5% were prescribed extended-release opioids and none were strong like fentanyl. Patients received a multimodal approach with alternatives to opioids in 88.9% of cases and 82.9% had a plan for opioid discontinuation. However, only 23.6% received an acute pain service referral. The majority of the prescriptions provided adhered to the best practice guidelines outlined by the ISQIC framework. These results are encouraging with respect to the feasibility of implementing opioid prescription guidelines effectively. However, routine monitoring is necessary to ensure that adherence is maintained.