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Opioids Commonly Prescribed to Treat Gout at ED Discharge

July 08, 2019

Opioids are often prescribed to individuals with acute gout who are discharged from an emergency department (ED), according to study findings.

The researchers evaluated data from the Lifespan electronic health records system on 456 individuals with a primary diagnosis of gout who were discharged from an ED in Rhode Island.

The frequency, dose, and duration of opioids prescribed to individuals at discharge between March 2015 and September 2017 were measured. Factors associated with an increased likelihood of opioid prescription at discharge were determined via multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Overall, 129 individuals (28.3%) were prescribed opioids at discharge from the ED. Approximately 80% were new prescriptions.

The mean [SD] dose of prescription was 37.9 mg [17.2] of morphine, comparable to a median duration of 8 days [interquartile range, 5-14].

Individuals who had polyarticular gout attack, who had diabetes, and who had received opioids prior to ED admission had an increased likelihood of receiving opioids at discharge.

“Despite the availability of effective treatments, opioids are commonly used for the management of acute gout,” the researchers concluded. “The study highlights an opportunity to curb the opioid epidemic among gout patients.”

—Melinda Stevens


Dalal DS, Mbuyi N, Shah I, Reinert S, Hilliard R, Reginato A. Prescription opioid use among gout patients discharged from the emergency department [published online July 2, 2019]. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). doi:10.1002/acr.23928

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