| opioid therapy

Short Term Pediatric Opioid Use

Does It Lead to Misuse?

The journal of Pediatrics reports a study of the transition from medical use of opioids in children to nonmedical use later in life. What does early exposure lead to? Reviewers searched almost a dozen databases for patients under age 18 who underwent a short or unknown course of opioids, who later in life experienced opioid use disorder. There was a noted lack of evidence.

Senior author of the study, Michele Dyson, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and associate director of the Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence, commented, “If opioids are used as indicated, they can be a safe and effective strategy for pain management. In some cases, they really are part of the best treatment plan to manage a child’s pain.” The study concluded, “Some studies suggest an association between lifetime therapeutic opioid use and nonmedical opioid use. Given the lack of clear evidence regarding short-term therapeutic exposure, health care providers should carefully evaluate pain management options and educate patients and caregivers about safe, judicious, and appropriate use of opioids and potential signs of misuse.”


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