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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Mar 2019 - 15 Mar 2019

Human Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2019 Jan

Anaesth Intensive Care



The effect of guideline implementation on discharge analgesia prescribing (two years on).


Stewart JE, Tuffin PH, Kay J, Mohamad A HT, Ritchie KL, Muthukuda G, Popielewska A, Schug SA
Anaesth Intensive Care. 2019 Jan; 47(1):40-44.
PMID: 30864473.


The provision of appropriate discharge analgesia can be challenging and is often prescribed by some of the most junior members of the medical team. Opioid abuse has been considered a growing public health crisis and physician overprescribing is a major contributor. In 2015 an initial audit of discharge analgesia at the Royal Perth Hospital led to the development of discharge analgesia guidelines. Compliance with these guidelines was assessed by a follow-up audit in 2016, which showed improved practice. This audit assesses discharge analgesia prescribing practices two years following guideline implementation. Dispensing data were obtained for analgesic medication over a three-month period from April to July 2017 and 100 unique patients were chosen using computer generated randomisation. Patients' medical records were assessed against the hospital's Postoperative Inpatients Discharge Analgesia Guidelines. The data collected were then compared with equivalent data from the previous 2015 and 2016 audits. Overall 83.4% of the 170 discharge analgesia prescriptions written were compliant with guidelines. The highest overall compliance rates were achieved for paracetamol (100%, up from 95.9% in 2016), celecoxib (96%, down from 100% in 2016), and oxycodone immediate release (IR) (74%, down from 88.9% in 2016). The quantity of oxycodone IR given on discharge complied with quantity guidelines in only 56% of cases. Overall there has been a significant and sustained improvement in appropriateness of discharge analgesia prescribing since 2015, though the results from 2017 show less compliance than 2016 and that achieving compliance with quantity guidelines is an ongoing challenge. This demonstrates the challenge of obtaining high adherence to guidelines over a longer time period.