Patient Safety

Do We Rely Too Much on Opioids? – Weekly Must Reads in Patient Safety (Jan 22, 2016)

Two articles this week raise the question – “do we rely too much on opioids?”

A Managed Care article, “Using Alternatives to Opioids In an Acute Care Setting” points out:

Opioid-related adverse events (ORAEs) not only diminish patient recovery and quality of life but also affect direct hospital costs and cost driving measures, as two recently published, large-scale studies show. The first, a national analysis of 320,000 in-patient surgeries found that patients who experienced ORAEs were hospitalized 3.3 days longer, cost the hospital an additional $4,707 and had higher 30-day all-cause readmission rates. The second, a regional study of 37,000 patients, found that ORAEs increased length of stay by 3.4 days, increased costs by 47% and increased readmission rates by 36%.

And, in an InterActive Health article, “Newborns Suffering With Increase Use of Opioids During Pregnancy?” discusses the dangerous rise in neonatal opioid dependence:

In the U.S – reports indicate that use of Opioids during Pregnancy are anywhere from 15% to 25%. This is a large amount of pregnant females that are using Drugs During Pregnancy or taking medications.  And almost 5% of these women are using heroin during their pregnancy.

NAS or Neonatal abstinence syndrome is a medical condition that is on the rise – it is a serious medical problem for newborns. It can be seen in patients where illegal Narcotics and/or prescriptions Opioids are used prior to birth.

Do you think we rely too much on opioids?

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