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World Journal of Emergency Medicine ›› 2024, Vol. 15 ›› Issue (3): 169-174.doi: 10.5847/wjem.j.1920-8642.2024.002

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Trends in oxycodone and oxycodone-containing analgesics administration for back pain in emergency departments in the USA (2007-2018)

Jonathan Chabon, Jemer Garrido, Deanna Schreiber-Gregory, Jefferson Drapkin(), Sergey Motov   

  1. Department of Emergency Medicine, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn 11219, USA
  • Received:2023-05-29 Accepted:2023-10-20 Online:2024-05-15 Published:2024-05-01
  • Contact: Jefferson Drapkin, Email:


BACKGROUND: To describe trends in oxycodone and oxycodone-containing analgesic prescribing for the treatment of back pain among adults in emergency departments (EDs) in the USA from 2007 to 2018.
METHODS: Data were gathered from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) from 2007 to 2018. The study population included individuals of all ages presenting to USA EDs. The NHAMCS reasons for visit and oxycodone drug ID codes were used to isolate patients with back pain. The main outcome was the proportion of oxycodone and oxycodone-containing analgesics prescribed for back pain in the EDs over the specified time period.
RESULTS: There was a relative decrease in the overall administration of oxycodone for back pain in the EDs by 62.3% from 2007 (244,000 visits) to 2018 (92,000 visits). The proportion of ED patients prescribed with oxycodone-containing analgesics for back pain increased among patients aged 45 years and older (from 43.8% to 57.6%), female patients (from 54.5% to 62.0%), black patients (from 22.5% to 30.4%), and Hispanic/Latino patients (from 9.4% to 19.6%). Oxycodone/acetaminophen was most prescribed and accounted for 90.2% of all oxycodone-containing analgesics in 2007, with a decrease to 68.5% in 2018. Pure oxycodone was the second most prescribed medication, accounting for 6.1% in 2007 and 31.5% in 2018.
CONCLUSION: The overall number of oxycodone-containing analgesics decreased significantly from 2007 to 2018. However, that number trended upward in 45-year-old and older, female, black, or Hispanic/Latino patients from 2007 to 2018. The total amount of pure oxycodone increased significantly from 2007 to 2008.

Key words: Oxycodone, Back pain, Emergency department