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Weaning of opioids and benzodiazepines at home after critical illness in infants: A cost-effective approach

Erwin Ista, PhD, RN, Monique van Dijk, PhD, Saskia Gischler, MD, PhD, Mirjam de Leeuw, RN, Marten J. Poley, PhD, Dick Tibboel, MD, PhD

Abstract


Objective: To evaluate the feasibility of infants’ weaning of opioids and sedatives at home.
Design: Retrospective observational study.
Setting: Level 3 pediatric intensive care unit.
Patients: Neonates treated for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) with extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
Intervention: Eligible infants were discharged early and further weaned of analgesics and/or sedatives at home.
Results: Of the 30 neonates treated for CDH with ECMO from 2003 to 2005, 15 survived. Five of these were weaned at home, on the guidance of telephone contact once a week. The mean infusion rates of morphine and midazolam for these children were significantly higher than those for other infants. Weaning at home took 11, 42, 107, 173, and 180 days, respectively, in the resultant mean savings on hospitalization costs per patient amounted to €150,000.
Conclusions: The results indicate that home weaning reduced the length of hospital stay by a median of 107 days for the five infants in this study, and thereby considerably reduced healthcare costs. Parents need to be informed clearly about possible withdrawal symptoms and should consent in this strategy. The strategy of final weaning with the aid of weekly telephone consultations with a consultant pediatric intensivist was feasible for these parents.

Keywords


opioids, benzodiazepines, withdrawal symptoms, drug weaning, children

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jom.2010.0005

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