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New guideline on opioid withdrawal in children

posted Jan 14, 2014, 8:57 AM by Victor   [ updated Jan 14, 2014, 8:59 AM ]
January 14, 2014

A new paper published in Pediatrics in late-December sets out specific guidelines for managing opioid dependence and withdrawal in children. The clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Drugs and Section on Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine aims to raise awareness about opioid withdrawal symptoms in children, which can occur as early as 5 to 7 days after having been on an opioid.

The lead author Jeffrey Galinkin, MD, is a professor of anesthesia and pediatrics at the University of Colorado Health Science Center - Denver, and Director of Scientific and Medical Affairs at CPC Clinical Research in Aurora, Colorado. The full clinical report can be accessed in PDF and HTML on the website for Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
New Guideline on Opioid Withdrawal in Children
Medscape - January 9, 2014


Children's use of prescription opioids is growing, but until now there has been no guideline on managing withdrawal in this age group. Since abrupt discontinuation of these drugs can lead to discomfort, it's important to follow a set approach to opioid weaning.

That's the conclusion of a new Clinical Report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Drugs and Section on Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine looking at iatrogenically induced opioid dependence and withdrawal in children.

The aim of the new paper, published online December 30 in Pediatrics, is to raise awareness, according to a lead author, Jeffrey Galinkin, MD, professor, anesthesia and pediatrics, University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, and director, Scientific and Medical Affairs, CPC Clinical Research, Aurora, Colorado.

"The key reason the AAP was keen to publish this paper and go forward with this guideline is that people are unaware that patients can get drug-specific withdrawal symptoms from opioids as early as 5 days to a week after having been on an opioid chronically."

Opioid prescriptions to children have more than doubled in the past decade. In 2009, about 7.2 million outpatient opioid prescriptions were dispensed for youngsters in the United States. Interestingly, the biggest prescribers are dentists, said Dr. Galinkin. Opioids are used primarily short term for pain related to a procedure or an acute injury.

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