HealthDay News — According to research published in the Journal of Opioid Management, errors on handwritten prescriptions occur often for adults receiving opioid medication

Mark Bicket, MD, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of opioid prescriptions processed at an outpatient pharmacy. 

They examined 510 consecutive opioid medication prescriptions for adult patients processed in June 2016.

Continue Reading

The researchers found that oxycodone was the most commonly prescribed opioid (71%), which was not usually combined with acetaminophen. 92% of the sample was prescribed tablet formulation, averaging 57 pills. For 42% of prescriptions there was at least one error. 

Nine percent of prescriptions deviated from best practice guidelines, 21% did not include 2 patient identifiers, and 41% were not compliant with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) rules. Errors occurred in 89% of handwritten prescriptions, 0% of EHR computer-generated prescriptions, and 12% of non-EHR computer-generated prescriptions.

“Inconsistencies in opioid prescribing remain common,” the authors write. “Handwritten prescriptions continue to demonstrate higher associations of errors, discrepancies, and variation from ideal practice and government regulations.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


Bicket MC, Kattail D, Yaster M, Wu CL, Pronovost P. “An analysis of errors, discrepancies, and variation in opioid prescriptions for adult outpatients at a teaching hospital.” J Opioid Manag. 2017;13(1): 51-57. doi:10.5055/jom.2017.0367

Related Articles