Tamar Freud, Michael Sherf, Erez Battat, Daniel Vardy, Pesach Shvartzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Opioids are considered a cornerstone in the treatment of pain. They are rarely used in almost half of the countries of the world, especially in children.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess opioid use over a ten-year study period from 2001-2010, among children 0-18 years old who are members of Clalit Health Services (CHS), the largest HMO in Israel

METHODS: Data on the purchase of opioids, authorized for use in Israel, was obtained from the computerized databases of CHS. In addition, the patient's demographic details and cancer morbidity were also extracted. The data was analyzed after all the doses of all opioids consumed (fentanyl patch, oxycodone, methadone, hydromorphone, oral transmucosal fentanyl) were converted into oral morphine equivalents (OME).

RESULTS: In all, 1,098 children purchased at least one opioid prescription during the study period. Of them, 27.3% had a diagnosis of cancer and 55.5% were female. A 42% decrease in total annual OME (mg) purchased, from 209,443 mg to 122,048 mg, was observed from 2001 to 2010. There was no specific pattern or trend in the annual number of pediatric and adolescent patients who purchased at least one opioid drug during the study period. In 86.5% of the cases, children with a non-cancer cause of pain purchased opioids for only one month.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a low and inconsistent rate of opioid consumption among pediatric and adolescent members of the CHS. Further study is needed to explore the reasons for this low opioid consumption rate in this population group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-7, 609, 608
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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