Analgesic Prescribing for Patients Who Are Discharged from an Emergency Department

Kevin M. Terrell, Siu Hui, Peter Castelluccio, Kurt Kroenke, Roland B. McGrath, Douglas K. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives. Among patients who arrive at an emergency department (ED) with pain, over half remain in moderate or severe pain at ED discharge. Our objectives were to identify ED physicians' prescribing patterns when discharging patients with common musculoskeletal conditions and to determine if disparities in opioid prescribing exist. Design. Five-year retrospective investigation. Setting. An urban, academic ED with approximately 100,000 annual visits, where physicians write discharge prescriptions, including over-the-counter medications, using a computerized order entry system. Patients. Adult patients who were discharged home from an ED with fractures (clavicle or long bone fractures) or non-fracture musculoskeletal diagnoses (sprains, strains, sciatica, or back pain). Outcome Measures. Patient demographics and pain medications prescribed for use at home. Results. The study sample included 13,335 patients with a mean age of 39 years. Half were female; 52% were white; 39% were black; and 7% were Hispanic. Among fracture patients, 77% received an opioid prescription, 2% received a non-opioid prescription, and 21% received no analgesic prescription. The percentages for patients with non-fracture diagnoses were 65% (opioids), 18% (non-opioid analgesics), and 17% (no analgesic). Patients aged 80 years and older were significantly less likely to receive opioid prescriptions. Although prescribing by race for fractures was similar, significantly fewer black and Hispanic patients with non-fracture diagnoses received opioid prescriptions, compared with white patients. Conclusions. Approximately one fifth of patients in the fracture and non-fracture groups did not receive an analgesic prescription. Age greater than 80 years and minority race/ethnic status were associated with lower rates of opioid prescribing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1072-1077
Number of pages6
JournalPain Medicine
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Fingerprint

Analgesics
Hospital Emergency Service
Prescriptions
Opioid Analgesics
Hispanic Americans
Pain
Physicians' Practice Patterns
Sprains and Strains
Sciatica
Clavicle
Bone Fractures
Back Pain
Demography
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Physicians

Keywords

  • Analgesics
  • Bone
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency Services
  • Fractures
  • Hospital
  • Musculoskeletal Injuries
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Analgesic Prescribing for Patients Who Are Discharged from an Emergency Department. / Terrell, Kevin M.; Hui, Siu; Castelluccio, Peter; Kroenke, Kurt; McGrath, Roland B.; Miller, Douglas K.

In: Pain Medicine, Vol. 11, No. 7, 07.2010, p. 1072-1077.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Terrell, Kevin M. ; Hui, Siu ; Castelluccio, Peter ; Kroenke, Kurt ; McGrath, Roland B. ; Miller, Douglas K. / Analgesic Prescribing for Patients Who Are Discharged from an Emergency Department. In: Pain Medicine. 2010 ; Vol. 11, No. 7. pp. 1072-1077.
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abstract = "Objectives. Among patients who arrive at an emergency department (ED) with pain, over half remain in moderate or severe pain at ED discharge. Our objectives were to identify ED physicians' prescribing patterns when discharging patients with common musculoskeletal conditions and to determine if disparities in opioid prescribing exist. Design. Five-year retrospective investigation. Setting. An urban, academic ED with approximately 100,000 annual visits, where physicians write discharge prescriptions, including over-the-counter medications, using a computerized order entry system. Patients. Adult patients who were discharged home from an ED with fractures (clavicle or long bone fractures) or non-fracture musculoskeletal diagnoses (sprains, strains, sciatica, or back pain). Outcome Measures. Patient demographics and pain medications prescribed for use at home. Results. The study sample included 13,335 patients with a mean age of 39 years. Half were female; 52{\%} were white; 39{\%} were black; and 7{\%} were Hispanic. Among fracture patients, 77{\%} received an opioid prescription, 2{\%} received a non-opioid prescription, and 21{\%} received no analgesic prescription. The percentages for patients with non-fracture diagnoses were 65{\%} (opioids), 18{\%} (non-opioid analgesics), and 17{\%} (no analgesic). Patients aged 80 years and older were significantly less likely to receive opioid prescriptions. Although prescribing by race for fractures was similar, significantly fewer black and Hispanic patients with non-fracture diagnoses received opioid prescriptions, compared with white patients. Conclusions. Approximately one fifth of patients in the fracture and non-fracture groups did not receive an analgesic prescription. Age greater than 80 years and minority race/ethnic status were associated with lower rates of opioid prescribing.",
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