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Papers of the Week

2022 Feb

Hosp Pharm



Impact of the Injectable Opioid Drug Shortage on Analgesia and Sedation Management in the Medical Intensive Care Unit: A Retrospective Cohort Study.


The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the injectable opioid drug shortage on analgesia and sedation management in the medical intensive care unit (MICU). A single-center, retrospective cohort study was conducted of mechanically ventilated patients during the injectable opioid shortage. Outcomes were compared between a cohort of patients during the intravenous (IV) opioid shortage (01/01/18-03/31/18) and a control cohort (01/01/17-03/31/17). Total IV opioids and alternative sedative administration were assessed. Richmond Agitation Sedation Score (RASS) and Clinical Pain Observation Score (CPOT) assessments were also evaluated. The primary outcome was percentage of RASS within goal. Secondary outcomes included duration of mechanical ventilation, hospital/ICU length of stay, and mortality. One hundred patients were included (50 patients per cohort). In the shortage cohort, 23.2% fewer IV opioids were used (40 501.8 vs 52 713.8 oral morphine equivalents [OME]). No statistical differences were found in percentage of patients within goal RASS between the shortage and control (median 63.7% vs 74.8%;  = .094) or CPOT (median 49.7% vs 47.7%;  = .575). More patients received enteral opioids and propofol on day 1 in the shortage cohort when compared to the control (22% vs 4%;  = .007 and 76% vs 56%;  = .035) but there were no differences in benzodiazepine, dexmedetomidine, or antipsychotic use. No differences in mechanical ventilation, hospital/ICU length of stay, or mortality were found. Use of less IV opioids during the injectable opioid shortage did not affect achievement of goal RASS and CPOT scores or increase prescribing of sedative medications such as benzodiazepines in the MICU.