WEDNESDAY, Feb. 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 2013 to 2017, the rate of receiving a take-home opioid prescription remained stable after pediatric outpatient surgery as did the dose prescribed, but the maximum take-home dose declined, according to a study recently published in Pain Medicine.

Gabrielle C. Donohoe, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of a deidentified database to examine trends in opioid prescribing for home use after pediatric outpatient surgery. Data were included for 65,190 encounters of pediatric outpatient surgeries from 2013 to 2017.

The researchers found that between 2013 and 2017, there was variation in the incidence rate of receiving a take-home opioid prescription at discharge from 18 to 21 percent, with no clear directional trend. Among patients prescribed opioids, from 2013 to 2017, there was a steady decrease in the maximum available take-home dose. A decrease in the number of doses prescribed (duration of treatment) and, starting in 2015, a decrease in the amount per dose accounted for this decline. Girls were more likely than boys to receive opioids, as were those with public versus private insurance. Patients who did not disclose their ethnicity and those of ethnic minority versus whites were more likely to have opioid prescribing.

“The trends we saw in our study are reassuring,” a coauthor said in a statement. “However, we are concerned about the bias we found in prescribing trends.”

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