Racial Disparities in Pain Meds for Children With Appendicitis

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Children With Appendicitis
Children With Appendicitis

(HealthDay News) — For pediatric patients with appendicitis, racial disparities exist with respect to analgesia administration, according to a study published online September 14 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Monika K. Goyal, MD, from the Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined racial differences in analgesia administration among children diagnosed as having appendicitis. The frequency of both opioid and nonopioid analgesia administration was calculated in a cross-sectional study of patients aged ≤21 years evaluated in the emergency department with a diagnosis of appendicitis.

The researchers identified 0.94 million children who were diagnosed with appendicitis. Overall, 56.8% received analgesia of any type, with 41.3% receiving opioid analgesia (20.7 and 43.1% of black and white patients, respectively). Compared with white patients, black patients with moderate pain were less likely to receive any analgesia (adjusted odds ratio, 0.1) when stratified by pain score and adjusted for ethnicity. Among children with severe pain, black patients were also less likely than white patients to receive opioids (adjusted odds ratio, 0.2). No significant differences were seen in the overall rate of analgesia administration by race in a multivariable model; however, opioid analgesia was received significantly less frequently by black vs. white patients (adjusted odds ratio, 0.2).

"Appendicitis pain is undertreated in pediatrics, and racial disparities with respect to analgesia administration exist," the authors write.

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