Introduction: Review of opioid prescriptions in a hospital provides valuable information to health care professionals which may contribute to proper pain management; opioid utilization studies may help uncover factors that can be improved for better prescribing. To evaluate the use of opioid analgesics in a university hospital, a review of opioids prescribed in hospitalized patients was developed. Methods: Information was obtained from the pharmacy database and medical records. The study period was 1 month. Results: Medical records of 1156 patients admitted in July 2009 were analyzed. The most widely prescribed opioid was tramadol; the preferred administration route was intravenous; the main indication was severe pain; and major prescribers were from surgical departments. Discussion: Underutilization of potent opioids for acute and chronic pain seems to occur. Conclusion: Most prescribers prefer weak opioids, given intravenously to treat acute and chronic pain, while some patients may benefit from the prescription of more potent opioids. © 2012 Moyano and Figueras, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.
- Drug utilization