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Survey of opioid tapering practices of pediatric healthcare providers: A national perspective

Deborah Fisher, PhD, RN, PPCNP-BC, Suzanne W. Ameringer, PhD, RN

Abstract


Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the current opioid tapering practice.

Design: Cross-sectional, online, survey research.

Participants: Pediatric healthcare providers from a national sample of practicing nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians who participate in five different pediatric pain and/or palliative care list serves.

Results: One hundred four participants responded to the survey. The respondents were predominantly physicians (n = 58, 62 percent). The majority of respondents worked in an academic children's medical center (n = 50, 52 percent). The average number of years in pediatric practice was 16 (mean = 16.33, range of 0-45 years). Of the 104 respondents, only 22 (27 percent) had a written protocol for opioid tapering. Use of expert consultants such as pharmacists or pediatric pain management teams varied. The majority of respondents (n = 46, 44 percent) seldom or never consult a pharmacist. Only 22 percent (n = 17) almost always or always consult a pediatric pain team. There was a wide range of personal tapering rate preferences.

Conclusions: This study provided a baseline assessment of pediatric opioid tapering practices by pediatric healthcare providers. Results revealed a marked variation in practice patterns that may indicate deficits in the assessment and management of opioid withdrawal in children. The need for the development of assessment-based opioid tapering guidelines for the pediatric population is long overdue.


Keywords


pediatrics, prescriber education, opioid prescribing, opioid withdrawal, survey

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5055/jom.2017.0368

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