Skip to main content

All Content

Search Tips
Save
Selection
Format
Download
Published Date
Original Publication Date
Original Publication Date
PSNet Publication Date
Additional Filters
1 - 20 of 369

Joseph A. Stat News. November 22, 2021

The opioid epidemic has put regulatory and professional pressures on the tapering of pain medications that have had unintended consequences for patients resulting in harm. This news story discusses how one family used legal means to address systemic gaps and clinical missteps that resulted in patient suicide due to lack of appropriate pain control.
Townsend T, Cerdá M, Bohnert AS, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40(11):1766-1775.
Misuse of prescription opioids represents a serious patient safety issue. Using commercial claims from 2014 - 2018, researchers examined the association between the 2016 CDC guidelines to reduce unsafe opioid prescribing and opioid dispensing for patients with four common chronic pain diagnoses. Findings indicate that the release of the 2016 guidelines was associated with reductions in the percentage of patients receiving opioids, average dose prescribed, percentage receiving high-dose prescriptions, number of days supplied, and the percentage of patients receiving concurrent opioid/benzodiazepine prescriptions. The authors observe that questions remain about how clinicians are tailoring opioid reductions using a patient-centered approach.

This case describes multiple emergency department (ED) encounters and hospitalizations experienced by a middle-aged woman with sickle cell crisis and a past history of multiple, long admissions related to her sickle cell disease. The multiple encounters highlight the challenges of opioid prescribing for patients with chronic, non-cancer pain.

Keister LA, Stecher C, Aronson B, et al. BMC Public Health. 2021;21(1):1518.
Constrained diagnostic situations in the emergency department (ED), such as crowding, can impact safe care. Based on multiple years of electronic health record data from one ED at a large U.S. hospital, researchers found that providers were significantly less likely to prescribe opioids during constrained diagnostic situations and less likely to prescribe opioids to high-risk patients or racial/ethnic minorities.
Chua K-P, Brummett CM, Conti RM, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148(3):e2021051539.
Despite public policies and guidelines to reduce opioid prescribing, providers continue to overprescribe these medications to children, adolescents, and young adults. In this analysis of US retail pharmacy data, 3.5% of US children and young adults were dispensed at least one opioid prescription; nearly half of those included at least one factor indicating they were high risk. Consistent with prior research, dentists and surgeons were the most frequent prescribers, writing 61% of all opiate prescriptions.
Agnoli A, Xing G, Tancredi DJ, et al. JAMA. 2021;326(5):411-419.
Sudden discontinuation of opioids has been linked to increased patient harm. This observational study evaluated the link between tapering and overdose, and mental health crisis among patients who were receiving long-term opioid therapy. Patients who underwent dose tapering had an increased risk of overdose and mental health crisis compared to those who did not undergo dose tapering. 

Szalavitz M. Wired Magazine. August 11, 2021. 

The opioid epidemic has contributed to uncertainties for pain management patients that result in harm. This article discusses how an endometriosis patient was unable to get prescriptions to manage her pain due to misinformation generated through screening tools designed to identify opioid misuse and inform prescribing decisions.
Osborne V. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2021;34(4):357-362.
The opioid epidemic is an ongoing patient safety issue. This literature review examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on opioid surveillance research in the United Kingdom. Of studies conducted during the pandemic, most explored the impact of the pandemic on access to opioids or opioid substitution therapy.
Worsham CM, Woo J, Jena AB, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40(6):970-978.
Adolescent patients transitioning from pediatric to adult medicine may experience patient safety risks. Using a large commercial insurance claims database, the authors compared opioid prescribing patterns and risk for opioid-related adverse events (overdose, opioid use disorder, or long-term use) among adolescents transitioning from “child” to “adult” at 18 years of age. The authors estimate a 14% increased risk for an opioid-related adverse outcome within one year when “adults” just over age 18 years were prescribed opioids that would not have been prescribed if they were under 18 years and considered “children.” The authors discuss how systematic differences in how pediatric and adult patients may be treated can lead to differences in opioid prescribing.
Norris B, Soncrant C, Mills PD, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47(8):489-495.
Opioid misuse and overdose continues to be a patient safety concern. This study conducted root cause analyses of 82 adverse event reports involving opioid use at the Veterans Health Administration. The most frequent event type was medication administration error and the most frequent root cause was staff not following hospital policies or hospitals not having opioid-related policies. 
Sharma V, Kulkarni V, Eurich DT, et al. BMJ Open. 2021;11(5):e043964.
Opioids are high-risk medications and a significant source of patient harm. Using administrative data for over 390,000 adult patients in Alberta, Canada, who received an opioid prescription from 2017-2018, the authors developed machine learning models to estimate the 30-day risk of opioid-related adverse outcomes. Findings suggest that incorporating hospitalization or physician claims into the models can improve predictive performance, as compared to the inclusion of guidelines or prescribing history alone.

Oakbrook Terrace, IL: Joint Commission: June 8, 2021.

The Eisenberg Award honors individuals and organizations who have made critical achievements toward patient safety and quality improvement. The 2020 honorees are Dr. David Gaba, Veterans Health Administration Rapid Naloxone Initiative, Washington, DC, and Northwestern Medicine Academy for Quality and Safety Improvement, Chicago IL. The awards will be presented virtually during the National Quality Forum's annual meeting in July.
Krancevich NM, Belfer JJ, Draper HM, et al. Ann Pharmacother. 2021;Epub May 18.
Prescribing opioids to opioid-naïve patients after hospital discharge may lead to chronic use. This study evaluated long-term opioid use among patients admitted directly to the ICU and who received intravenous opioids. While long-term opioid use was more common among patients who received an opioid prescription at discharge, the authors did not find a significant relationship between ICU opioid prescribing in opioid-naïve patients and long-term opioid use. The authors suggest future research focus on transitions from hospital to home or other post-acute sites to reduce inappropriate opioid use.
Kurteva S, Abrahamowicz M, Gomes T, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(5):e218782.
Using administrative data and patient interviews, this study sought to estimate opioid-related adverse events in adults discharged from one Canadian hospital. Among patients who filled at least one opioid prescription in the 90 days following hospital discharge, approximately 16% experienced an opioid-related emergency department visit, hospital readmission, or death. Longer duration of use and higher daily dose were associated with increased risk of adverse events. Results from this study can inform policies and strategies to limit opioid prescription dose and duration.  
Harder VS, Plante TB, Koh I, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2021;Epub May 6.
In an effort to reduce opioid overdose and adverse events, many states enacted policies limiting dose and duration of opioid prescriptions. This study analyzed the rates of opioid overdose and adverse effects in primary care patients before and after the implementation of prescribing policies in Vermont. While there was no change in opioid overdose rates following implementation, there was a 78% decrease in adverse effects rates, particularly among patients with chronic opioid prescriptions and opioid-naïve patients. Statewide policies limiting dose and duration of opioid prescriptions may have positive results among primary care patients.
Kurteva S, Habib B, Moraga T, et al. Value Health. 2021;24(2):147-157.
Harms related to prescription opioid use are an ongoing patient safety challenge. Based on data from one hospital between 2014 and 2016, this cohort study found that nearly 50% of hospitalized patients were discharged with an opioid prescription, and 80% of those prescriptions were among patients discharged from a surgical unit. Opioid-related medication errors were more common in handwritten discharge prescriptions compared to electronic prescriptions; electronic prescriptions were associated with a 69% lower risk of opioid-related medication errors.