Incidence of and predictors for serious opioid-related adverse drug events

Linda Denke, Folefac D. Atem, Michael Khazzam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose:To determine the incidence of and predictors for serious opioid-related adverse drug events (ORADEs) in postoperative inpatients.Methods:A retrospective cohort study design of serious ORADEs in surgical inpatients between 2015 and 2017, who were abstracted from the electronic health record, in an 800-bed academic medical health center.Results:A total of 27,942 surgery patients met the inclusion criteria. Of those, 25,208 patients (90%) were exposed to opioids after surgery. A total of 25,133 (99.7%) patients exposed to opioids did not experience a serious ORADE while 75 (0.3%) patients did experience a serious ORADE and required naloxone. The predictors for ORADEs include age (OR = 1.040, P-value <.0001); gender (OR = 0.394, P-value =.0006); psychiatric disorder (OR = 4.440, CI: 2.435, 8.095); morphine level with respect to hydrocodone-acetaminophen (OR = 5.841, P-value =.0384); and were almost six times more likely to experience a serious ORADE when morphine is prescribed and 4.44 times more likely in patients with a psychiatric disorder (P-value <.0001).Conclusion:Once a baseline incidence is known, predictors for serious ORADEs in surgical inpatients are useful in guiding medical-surgical nurses' opioid safety practices, with more frequent focused respiratory assessments before opioid dosing and closer monitoring when opioids are prescribed postoperatively, especially in higher-risk surgical inpatients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • opioid
  • opioid-related adverse drug events
  • postoperative pain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency
  • Critical Care
  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • LPN and LVN


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