Community harm associated with prescription opioids is causing global concern, and post-hospital discharge prescribing is contributing to the problem. We surveyed anaesthetists in Australia and New Zealand to determine which opioid stewardship measures are currently in place, and to gauge interest in participating in future health services research on introducing an opioid stewardship bundle of care. A total of 87 anaesthetists from 87 hospitals were invited to participate, and 45 (52%) responded. The extent of nine current opioid stewardship measures reported was highly variable. One respondent (2%) reported no measures introduced at their hospital; 12 (27%) one to two measures; 16 (36%) three or four measures; 13 (29%) five to seven measures; and 3 (7%), all nine measures were in place. Respondents were often interested in being contacted about future trial participation (n = 33, 73%); however, concerns regarding feasibility of introducing an opioid stewardship bundle of care were widespread (n = 22, 49%). It is possible that the variability in Australian and New Zealand opioid stewardship practice is due, in part, to the current limited evidence base for the individual measures, in addition to challenges in research translation. We have found that interest in further research on opioid stewardship is high. Comprehensive, locally adapted, evidence-based opioid stewardship measures may increase the safety of patients and the community following opioid therapy.
Allen, M. L., Leslie, K., Parker, A. V., Kim, C. C., Brooks, S. L., Braat, S., ... Story, D. A. (2019). Post-surgical opioid stewardship programs across Australia and New Zealand: Current situation and future directions. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, 47(6), 548-552. https://doi.org/10.1177/0310057X19880904