Public Release: 

Opioid-related adverse drug events common after surgery, associated with worse outcomes

JAMA Surgery

Bottom Line: Opioid-related adverse drug events were common among patients undergoing surgery  and endoscopy procedures in the hospital and they were associated with worse patient outcomes.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Short-term opioid use in the hospital is a known source of the growing opioid epidemic. Opioid-related adverse drug events (ORADEs) can range from mild dermatitis to severe events such as acute respiratory failure.

Who and When: 135,379 patients admitted to 21 acute care hospitals from 2013 to 2015 who had surgery or endoscopic procedures at a hospital and were given opioids.

What (Study Measures): Opioid use (exposure); opioid-related adverse drug events and their association with inpatient mortality, discharge to another care facility, length of stay, cost of hospitalization and 30-day readmission (outcomes)

How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control all the natural differences that could explain the study findings.

Authors: Shahid Shafi, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., Baylor Scott & White Health, Dallas, and coauthors

Study Limitations: A lack of information on the timing of ORADEs relative to when opioids were given to patients made it not possible to determine if the adverse events were a direct consequence of the opioid use or to other causes or drugs.

For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.1039)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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