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Hydromorphone Unit Dose Affects Intraoperative Dosing: An Observational Study

May 1, 2020


Although clinical factors related to intraoperative opioid administration have been described, there is little research evaluating whether administration is influenced by drug formulation and, specifically, the unit dose of the drug. The authors hypothesized that the unit dose of hydromorphone is an independent determinant of the quantity of hydromorphone administered to patients intraoperatively.

This observational cohort study included 15,010 patients who received intraoperative hydromorphone as part of an anesthetic at the University of California, Los Angeles hospitals from February 2016 to March 2018. Before July 2017, hydromorphone was available as a 2-mg unit dose. From July 1, 2017 to November 20, 2017, hydromorphone was only available in a 1-mg unit dose. On November 21, 2017, hydromorphone was reintroduced in the 2-mg unit dose. An interrupted time series analysis was performed using segmented Poisson regression with two change-points, the first representing the switch from a 2-mg to 1-mg unit dose, and the second representing the reintroduction of the 2-mg dose.

The 2-mg to 1-mg unit dose change was associated with a 49% relative decrease in the probability of receiving a hydromorphone dose greater than 1 mg (risk ratio, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.40–0.66; P < 0.0001). The reintroduction of a 2-mg unit dose was associated with a 48% relative increase in the probability of administering a dose greater than 1 mg (risk ratio, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.11–1.98; P = 0.008).

This observational study using an interrupted time series analysis demonstrates that unit dose of hydromorphone (2 mg vs. 1 mg) is an independent determinant of the quantity of hydromorphone administered to patients in the intraoperative period.

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