Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction in Children
Available from: Marina Cuttini
- "We found that local protocols for pain management, when available, mostly recommended the use of paracetamol and NSAIDS, while opioids were mentioned by six EDs only. Fear of adverse side effects and potential for addiction following use of opioids in children are common  and not completely ill-founded . However, in-hospital opioid analgesia for children and even neonates is generally recommended in case of moderate to severe pain [1,4,25]. "
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ABSTRACT: Pain experienced by children in emergency departments (EDs) is often poorly assessed and treated. Although local protocols and strategies are important to ensure appropriate staff behaviours, few studies have focussed on pain management policies at hospital or department level. This study aimed at describing the policies and reported practices of pain assessment and treatment in a national sample of Italian pediatric EDs, and identifying the assocoated structural and organisational factors.
A structured questionnaire was mailed to all the 14 Italian pediatric and maternal and child hospitals and to 5 general hospitals with separate pediatric emergency room. There were no refusals. Information collected included the frequency and mode of pain assessment, presence of written pain management protocols, use of local anaesthetic (EMLA cream) before venipuncture, and role of parents. General data on the hospital and ED were also recorded. Multiple Correspondence Analysis was used to explore the multivariable associations between the characteristics of hospitals and EDs and their pain management policies and practices.
Routine pain assessment both at triage and in the emergency room was carried out only by 26% of surveyed EDs. About one third did not use algometric scales, and almost half (47.4%) did not have local protocols for pain treatment. Only 3 routinely reassessed pain after treatment, and only 2 used EMLA. All EDs allowed parents' presence and most (17, 89.9%) allowed them to stay when painful procedures were carried out. Eleven hospitals (57.9%) allowed parents to hold their child during blood sampling. Pediatric and maternal and child hospitals, those located in the North of Italy, equipped with medico-surgical-traumatological ED and short stay observation, and providing full assessment triage over 24 hours were more likely to report appropriate policies for pain management both at triage and in ER. A nurses to admissions ratio >= median was associated with better pain management at triage.
Despite availability of national and international guidelines, pediatric pain management is still sub-optimal in Italian emergency departments. Multifaceted strategies including development of local policies, staff educational programs, and parental involvement in pain assessment should be carried out and periodically reinforced.
Available from: Julie M Donohue
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Health insurance claims data may play an important role for health care systems and payers in monitoring the nonmedical use of prescription opioids (NMPO) among patients. However, these systems require valid methods for identifying NMPO if they are to target individuals for intervention. Limited efforts have been made to define NMPO using administrative data available to health systems and payers. We conducted a systematic review of publications that defined and measured NMPO within health insurance claims databases in order to describe definitions of NMPO and identify areas for improvement.
We searched 8 electronic databases for articles that included terms related to NMPO and health insurance claims. A total of 2613 articles were identified in our search. Titles, abstracts, and article full texts were assessed according to predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria. Following article selection, we extracted general information, conceptual and operational definitions of NMPO, methods used to validate operational definitions of NMPO, and rates of NMPO.
A total of 7 studies met all inclusion criteria. A range of conceptual NMPO definitions emerged, from concrete concepts of abuse to qualified definitions of probable misuse. Operational definitions also varied, ranging from variables that rely on diagnostic codes to those that rely on opioid dosage and/or filling patterns. Quantitative validation of NMPO definitions was reported in 3 studies (e.g., receiver operating curves or logistic regression), with each study indicating adequate validity. Three studies reported qualitative validation, using face and content validity. One study reported no validation efforts. Rates of NMPO among the studies' populations ranged from 0.75% to 10.32%.
Disparate definitions of NMPO emerged from the literature, with little uniformity in conceptualization and operationalization. Validation approaches were also limited, and rates of NMPO varied across studies. Future research should prospectively test and validate a construct of NMPO to disseminate to payers and health officials.
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