Objectives: Leftover opioids can contribute to misuse and abuse. Recommended dosing quantities in the electronic medical record can guide prescribing patterns. We hypothesized that decreasing the default from 30 doses to 12 doses would decrease the overall number of opioids prescribed without increasing second opioid prescriptions or additional health utilization. Methods: We performed a single-center retrospective study of children with forearm and elbow fractures who presented to the emergency department for evaluation and subsequent orthopedic follow-up between January 15, and September 19, 2017. The default dispensing quantity was decreased on June 1, 2016 from 30 doses to 12 doses. Patients were categorized to preintervention and postintervention groups. We compared the number of opioids prescribed, second opioid prescriptions, emergency department visits, and pain-related telephone calls and orthopedic visits with χ2 and logistic regression analyses. Results: There were 1107 patients included. Rates of opioid prescribing were similar preintervention and postintervention (61% vs 56%, P = 0.13). After the change to the default quantity, the median number of doses decreased from 18 to 12 doses, with opioid prescriptions of 30 or more doses dropping from 35% to 11%. No significant association was found between preintervention versus postintervention, opioid prescription at discharge, and having 1 or more pain-related or unexpected follow-up visits. Conclusions: Lowering the default dispensing quantity of opioids in the electronic medical record decreases the number of opioids prescribed without increasing second prescriptions or additional health care utilization. These findings suggest that a further reduction in the number of opioids prescribed for upper-extremity fractures may be possible.
- Clinical practice patterns
- Pain management
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Emergency Medicine