The Frequency of Naloxone Use in the Hospital

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Additional research should focus on how implementing specific opioid monitoring programs in ICU settings can reduce overdose risk.
Additional research should focus on how implementing specific opioid monitoring programs in ICU settings can reduce overdose risk.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — As opioid overdoses continue to become an increasingly common occurrence in the health care setting, clinicians may want to begin tracking these instances by evaluating Naloxone use in the hospital.

Presented this week at the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM)'s annual meeting, a new report reviews Naloxone use in a tertiary care facility at the VA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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The investigators found 63 instances of Naloxone being distributed for opioid overdose or suspected overdose: 28 occurrences in the emergency room; 10 in the ICU; 7 in the CPC; 6 in the surgical unit; 6 in the PACU, 4 in the SEP, and 2 in the anesthesia department.

Education on opioid prescribing, appropriate administration and monitoring may improve patient outcomes, the investigators found.

Gabriel Rudd-Barnard, MD, MS, medical director of concussion management at One Neuro, told Clinical Pain Advisor in an interview that there has been an increase in opioid administration for both inpatient and outpatient over the years.

"We wanted to investigate if the outpatient overdosing issues that have become more prevalent are also issues in the hospital," he said. "We felt that Naloxone would be one way we could track this."

Additional research should focus on how implementing specific opioid monitoring programs in ICU settings can reduce overdose risk, the authors write.

"We think that our research will increase awareness and development of systems-based practices that will help reduce these problems," he said. 

Reference

Rudd-Barnard G, Moaleji-Wafa N, Glassman P, et al. Abstract #LB006. Frequency of Naloxone use for Opioid Overdose Based on Ward Type in a Tertiary Care Medical Center. Presented at: AAPM 2016. February 18-21, 2016; Palm Springs, California.

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