Patients given opioids in the intensive care unit do not appear to be at higher risk of receiving opioid prescriptions once they leave the hospital, according to research presented at ATS 2019.

Researchers conducted a study of over 3,100 patients who entered the ICU having never taken opioids and compared those whose care required opiates and those whose care did not. Patients were classified as “exposed” based on whether or not they received opioids in the ICU.

According to results, 45% (1,390) of patients received opioids in the ICU, and these patients were younger and had greater weight, height, APACHE III scores, and longer lengths of stay in both the hospital and ICU.1

Analysis found 17% (234) of exposed patients and 16% (273) of unexposed patients were prescribed opioids during the 12-month follow up period, post-discharge. Researchers concluded that receiving opioids in the ICU was not associated with opiate prescription within 1 year after discharge.