Blog | Monday, December 12, 2011

QD: News Every Day--Opioid-related adverse events cost hospitals $1,000, add one day to stays

Opioid-related adverse events (ORAEs) are associated with more than a $1,000 increase in hospitalization costs and more than a day increase in length of hospital stay, reports a pharma-funded study.

A retrospective analysis applied a national database of patients from 381 U.S. hospitals identified adults who underwent common soft tissue and orthopedic surgical procedures and received opioids for postsurgical pain from September 2008 to August 2010. All opioids consumed were converted to morphine-equivalent doses. About 20% of surgical patients experienced an ORAE.

The data were presented in collaboration with Premier Research Services, which supplied the data, and funded by Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a manufacturer of postsurgical pain management products. These findings were presented during a poster session at the 2011 Midyear Clinical Meeting of the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists in New Orleans.

A researcher from the study said in a press release that the study highlights the value of a multimodal, opioid-sparing approach to postsurgical pain management.

A second poster from the meeting supported by the same drugmaker identified patients undergoing total abdominal hysterectomy in one of six hospitals from January 2007 to December 2010.

The 97 total abdominal hysterectomy patients with the longest lengths-of-stay, termed "outliers," were matched to a control group of patients. Medical records from both groups were reviewed for total opioid use, incidence of ORAEs and total cost of hospitalization. Total opioid consumption in the outlier group was more than double that of the control group (150 mg vs. 74 mg; P less than 0.01).

Respiratory ORAEs occurred 12 times more often in patients in the outlier group than in the control group (12% vs. 1%; P less than 0.01). Gastrointestinal ORAEs occurred more than twice as often (44% vs. 19%; P less than 0.01). Total hospitalization cost was more than $8,500 higher in the outlier group compared to the control group ($14,275 vs. $5,745).