It is crucial to ensure that all patients receive equal care and to eliminate any disparities in administering analgesics and opioids to patients with long-bone fractures in the emergency department (ED). Using a current, nationally representative database, researchers aimed to determine whether gendered, ethnic, or racial disparities still exist in administering and prescribing analgesics and opioids to ED patients with long-bone fractures.
This was a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of emergency department (ED) patients ages 15–55 with long-bone fractures included in the National Hospital and Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) database from 2016 to 2019. Their primary and secondary outcomes were the administration of analgesics and opioids in the ED. In contrast, their exploratory outcomes included prescribing painkillers and opioids for discharged patients. Adjustments were made for age, gender, race, insurance, fracture location, fracture incidence, and pain intensity.
About 65% of the estimated 2.32 million ED patient visits analyzed received analgesics, while 50% received narcotics. Analgesic administration was associated with female gender (OR 2.11; 95% CI 1.08–4.12) and Black race (OR 2.84; 95% CI 1.03–7.80), but not with Hispanic/Latino ethnicity (OR 2.09; 95% CI 0.72–6.01). There were no associations between opioid administration, analgesic, or opioid prescriptions and female gender, Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, or Black race. There were no significant gender, ethnic, or racial disparities in administering or prescribing analgesics or opioids to adult ED patients with long-bone fractures between 2016 and 2019.