Study Analyzes Adverse Effects from Opioids Prescribed to Children

(National) – The American Academy of Pediatrics is sharing information about a recent study focused on opioids prescribed to children.

According to the report, a study found that between 1999 and 2014, 15% of children enrolled in Tennessee Medicaid and without severe conditions received an opioid prescription each year. Officials note that one in every 2,611 of these opioid prescriptions was related to adverse effects, which resulted in an emergency department visit, hospital admission, or death.

The study, ‘Outpatient Opioid Prescriptions for Children without Severe Conditions and Opioid-Related Adverse Events,’ is expected to be published in the August 2018 issue of Pediatrics.

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The study analyzed outpatient prescriptions for children ages 2 to 17 enrolled in Tennessee’s Medicaid program between January 1st, 1999 and December 21st, 2014 without severe conditions or substance use disorders. AAP officials explained that according to the study opioids were most commonly prescribed for dental procedures (31.1 percent); outpatient surgical or medical procedures (25.1 percent); trauma (18.1 percent); and minor infections (16.5 percent).

Additionally, researches reportedly identified 1,179 potential opioid-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations or deaths and were able to confirm 437 by review of medical records. More than two-thirds of the adverse events were related to therapeutic use of the prescription.

Officials do note however the rate of outpatient opioid prescriptions for children declined over the course of the study to 10.2% in 2014, but authors suggested that efforts to improve opioid safety should still be strengthened.


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