Background In the United States of America, the increased use of opioids is associated with serious risks, such as overdose, opioid use disorder and death. In Portugal, data about the use of these drugs are scarce. Objective Characterize the prescribing patterns of opioids in the Health Administrative Region of Lisbon and Tagus Valley. Methods Observational, retrospective descriptive analysis of the prescription of opioid drugs through the Health Administrative Region database from 2013 to 2017. The outcomes analysed were the defined daily dose (DDD) per year and the defined daily dose per 1000 inhabitants per year (DID). Results The prescription of opioid drugs in this region has increased approximately 1.5-fold over a 4 year period (totals of 4.32 million DDD and 3.25 DID in 2013 to totals of 7.21 million DDD and 5.42 DID in 2017). The opioids with the greatest absolute increase in this period were tramadol, tapentadol and codeine. Conclusion The prescription of opioid drugs has increased approximately 1.5-fold over a 4 year period in the ambulatory care of one of the main health administrative regions in Portugal. This trend warrants monitoring and suggests the need for highlighting good practices for opioids prescribing.
- Prescription pattern