High-dose intravenous hydromorphone for patients who use opioids in the hospital setting: time to reduce the barriers Labonté, Laura; Young, Samantha
Abstract Individuals who use opioids have higher rates of hospitalization compared to the general population. Insufficiently treated withdrawal and pain are major factors contributing to high rates of self-initiated hospital discharges (also referred to as leaving against medical advice) in this population. While injectable opioid agonist therapy is limited or unavailable in the majority of Canadian communities, intravenous hydromorphone (IV HM) is widely available in the hospital setting and high-dose IV HM may be a useful treatment adjunct to improve comfort and engagement in inpatient care for some individuals who use opioids. However, major barriers to its use exist including lack of comfort amongst healthcare providers and hospital policies restricting administration. In this commentary, we highlight the potential usefulness of high-dose IV HM as a treatment adjunct for individuals who use opioids in the hospital setting and advocate for expanded hospital policies to facilitate its use.
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