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Protocols cut opiate events in children

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Implementing specific protocols for children taking opiates can significantly reduce adverse events, US researchers have found.

Over one year, they studied all children taking opiates for pain relief at 14 children’s hospitals across the US. Using standard checks for opiate administration and weaning, ensuring parents and carers had up-to-date lists of their child’s medication, and routinely adding medication to prevent constipation reduced adverse events by 67%.

‘Broad use of these interventions could significantly reduce morbidity and the costs of care associated with narcotic-related adverse events in hospitalised children,’ they said.

Pediatrics (2008) 122: 861–866

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