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Patient-controlled analgesia in the pediatric population: morphine versus hydromorphone

Authors DiGiusto M, Bhalla T, Martin D, Foerschler D, Jones M, Tobias J

Received 20 March 2014

Accepted for publication 6 April 2014

Published 13 August 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 471—475

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S64497

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Matthew DiGiusto,2 Tarun Bhalla,1 David Martin,1 Derek Foerschler,3 Megan J Jones,2 Joseph D Tobias1

1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Ohio State University, 2The Ohio State School of Medicine, 3Department of Anesthesiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

Objective: Patient controlled analgesia (PCA) is commonly used to provide analgesia following surgical procedures in the pediatric population. Morphine and hydromorphone remain the most commonly used opioids for PCA. Although both are effective, adverse effects may occur. When these adverse effects are unremitting or severe, opioid rotation may be required. In this study, we retrospectively evaluated PCA use, the adverse effect profile, and the frequency of opioid rotation.
Methods: This retrospective study was performed at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, OH). The hospital's electronic registry was queried for PCA use delivering either morphine or hydromorphone from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010.
Results: A total of 514 patients were identified, that met study entry criteria. Of the 514 cases, 298 (56.2%) were initially started on morphine and 225 (43.8%) were initially started on hydromorphone. There were a total of 26 (5.1%) opioid changes in the cohort of 514 patients. Of the 26 switches, 23 of 298 (7.7%) were from morphine to hydromorphone, and 3 of 225 (1.3%) were from hydromorphone to morphine (P=0.0008). Of the 17 morphine-to-hydromorphone switches with adverse effects, pruritus (64.7%), and inadequate pain control (47.1%) were the most common side effects. The most common side effect resulting in a hydromorphone-to-morphine switch was nausea (66.7%).
Conclusion: PCA switches from morphine-to-hydromorphone (88.5%) were more common than vice-versa (11.5%). The most common reasons for morphine-to-hydromorphone switch were pruritus and inadequate pain control. These data suggest that a prospective study is necessary to determine the side effect differences between morphine and hydromorphone in pediatric PCA.

Keywords: acute pain, analgesia, opioids, pediatric

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