Romanelli RJ, Shen Z, Szwerinski N, Scott A, Lockhart S, Pressman AR., Ann Emerg Med. pii: S0196-0644(19)30417-2. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.05.018. [Epub ahead of print], 2019 Jul 01
STUDY OBJECTIVE: We examine racial and ethnic differences in opioid prescribing and dosing for long bone fractures at emergency department (ED) discharge.
METHODS: We conducted an electronic health records-based cross-sectional study of adults with long bone fractures who presented to the ED across 22 sites from a health care delivery system (2016 to 2017). We examined differences in opioid prescribing at ED discharge and, among patients with a prescription, differences in opioid dosing (measured as morphine milligram equivalents) by race/ethnicity, using regression modeling with statistical adjustment for patient, fracture, and prescriber characteristics.
RESULTS: A total of 11,576 patients with long bone fractures were included in the study; 64.4% were non-Hispanic white; 16.4%, 7.3%, 5.8%, and 5.1%, respectively, were Hispanic, Asian, black, and of other or unknown race; and 65.6% received an opioid at discharge. After adjusting for other factors, rates of opioid prescribing were not different by race/ethnicity; however, among patients with an opioid prescription, total morphine milligram equivalent units prescribed were 4.3%, 6.0%, and 8.1% less for Hispanics, blacks, and Asians relative to non-Hispanic whites.
CONCLUSION: Racial and ethnic minority groups with long bone fractures receive similar frequencies of opioid prescriptions at discharge, with a small potency difference. How this affects pain relief and why it happens is unclear.