Wide Variation in Opioid Prescribing Practices for Hospitalized Nonsurgical Patients

November 20, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


More than half of hospitalized nonsurgical patients in the United States are prescribed opioids to manage their pain, a practice that may not always be necessary and can contribute to adverse events, reports a study published online November 13, 2013, in the Journal of Hospital Medicine. The study, which evaluated adult nonsurgical admissions at 286 U.S. hospitals, investigated patterns and predictors of opioid utilization, variation in use, and the association between hospital-level use and rates of severe opioid-related adverse events. According to the results, opioid prescribing rates ranged from 33% to 64% after adjusting for patient characteristics. Wide variation was observed in prescribing rates depending on where patients lived.

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