Evaluation of a novel metric for personalized opioid prescribing after hospitalization

Link to article at PubMed

PLoS One. 2020 Dec 31;15(12):e0244735. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244735. eCollection 2020.


BACKGROUND: The duration of an opioid prescribed at hospital discharge does not intrinsically account for opioid needs during a hospitalization. This discrepancy may lead to patients receiving much larger supplies of opioids on discharge than they truly require.

OBJECTIVE: Assess a novel discharge opioid supply metric that adjusts for opioid use during hospitalization, compared to the conventional discharge prescription signature.

DESIGN, SETTING, & PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective study using electronic health record data from June 2012 to November 2018 of adults who received opioids while hospitalized and after discharge from a single academic medical center.

MEASURES & ANALYSIS: We ascertained inpatient opioids received and milligrams of opioids supplied after discharge, then determined days of opioids supplied after discharge by the conventional prescription signature opioid-days ("conventional days") and novel hospital-adjusted opioid-days ("adjusted days") metrics. We calculated descriptive statistics, within-subject difference between measurements, and fold difference between measures. We used multiple linear regression to determine patient-level predictors associated with high difference in days prescribed between measures.

RESULTS: The adjusted days metric demonstrates a 2.4 day median increase in prescription duration as compared to the conventional days metric (9.4 vs. 7.0 days; P<0.001). 95% of all adjusted days measurements fall within a 0.19 to 6.90-fold difference as compared to conventional days measurements, with a maximum absolute difference of 640 days. Receiving a liquid opioid prescription accounted for an increased prescription duration of 135.6% by the adjusted days metric (95% CI 39.1-299.0%; P = 0.001). Of patients who were not on opioids prior to admission and required opioids during hospitalization but not in the last 24 hours, 325 (8.6%) were discharged with an opioid prescription.

CONCLUSIONS: The adjusted days metric, based on inpatient opioid use, demonstrates that patients are often prescribed a supply lasting longer than the prescription signature suggests, though with marked variability for some patients that suggests potential under-prescribing as well. Adjusted days is more patient-centered, reflecting the reality of how patients will take their prescription rather than providers' intended prescription duration.

PMID:33382802 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0244735

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