HealthDay News — An intervention targeting the use of intravenous opioids may reduce opioid exposure, according to a study published online May 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Adam L. Ackerman, MD, from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues conducted a pilot study involving attending physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who prescribed drugs. Opioid use was compared between a 6-month control period and 3 months following education for prescribers on opioid administration routes, focusing on awareness of the subcutaneous routes. 

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The researchers observed an 84% reduction in intravenous opioid doses and a 55% reduction in doses of all parenteral opioids. In addition, there was a 49% decrease in the mean daily parenteral opioid exposure. There was a 57% decrease in the daily rate of patients administered any parenteral opioid. Reductions were seen in doses of opioids given by oral or parenteral route (23%) and mean daily overall opioid exposure (31%). For hospital days 1 through 3, there were no significant differences in mean reported pain score for patients receiving opioid therapy post-intervention versus pre-intervention; there was significant improvement in the intervention group on days 4 and 5.

“An intervention targeting the use of intravenous opioids may be associated with reduced opioid exposure while providing effective pain control to hospitalized adults,” the authors write.

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