MONDAY, May 13, 2018 (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, M.D., from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues conducted a pilot study involving attending physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who prescribed drugs. Opioid use was compared between a six-month control period and three months following education for prescribers on opioid administration routes, focusing on awareness of the subcutaneous routes.

The researchers observed an 84 percent reduction in intravenous opioid doses and a 55 percent reduction in doses of all parenteral opioids. In addition, there was a 49 percent decrease in the mean daily parenteral opioid exposure. There was a 57 percent 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 percent) and mean daily overall opioid exposure (31 percent). For hospital days one through three, 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 four and five.

“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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