Common Pharmacomistakes in Advanced Illness Opioid Conversion MISCalculations! Achieving Pain Relief Quickly AND Safely! Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE Professor, Executive Director Advanced Post-Graduate Education in Palliative Care Program Director, Online Master of Science and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care graduate.umaryland.edu/palliative | [email protected] Learning Objectives At the conclusion of this presentation, the participant will be able to: 1.
Given a simulated scenario of an opioid conversion calculation, identify the error in the case. 2. Given an error in a simulated opioid conversion calculation, describe potential clinical consequences of the case. 3. Given an erroneous opioid conversion simulated situation, describe a preferred option for the calculation that aims to maximize pain relief while maximizing safety. Scenario 2 Scenario 2 Whats the sitch? Mr. Morgan is a 44-year-old man diagnosed with a giant tumor (18 cm x 15 cm x 14 cm) in the
left thoracic cavity. He underwent surgery, and the tumor (which was adherent to the left upper lobe of the lung, mediastinal pleura and parietal pleural) was completely resected with combined resection of part of the left upper lobe of the lung. The surgeon was generous with the postoperative analgesic plan, knowing that postthoracotomy pain can be profound. Scenario 2 Whats the sitch? Mr. Morgans use of IV hydromorphone is as follows: Hours post-surgery 12-hour use of IV hydromorphone 0-12 24 mg
12-24 20 mg 24-36 17 mg 36-48 14 mg 48-60 10 mg
60-72 8 mg 72-84 6 mg Scenario 2 Whats the sitch? On the morning of post-operative Day 4, the surgeon is discharging Mr. Morgan. The surgeon is mindful of the CDC recommendation for the management of acute pain. Specifically, the guidelines state, Clinicians should prescribe the lowest effective dose of immediaterelease opioids and should prescribe no greater quantity than needed for the expected duration of pain severe enough to require opioids. Three days or less will often be sufficient; more than seven days will rarely be needed. Keeping this in mind, the surgeon gives Mrs. Morgan a prescription for her husband for
oxycodone 5 mg/acetaminophen 325 mg, one tablet every 4 hours as needed, quantity 18. The surgeon also reminds Mrs. Morgan to pick up some polyethylene glycol while shes at the pharmacy. After all, nobody wants to be straining to stool post-thoracotomy! Scenario 2 Whats the sitch? The next morning, Mrs. Morgan contacts the surgeons office DEMANDING to speak to the surgeon. My husband is in EXCRUTIATING pain. Hes screaming and crying, and weve been up all night. What kind of monster are you? These pills barely touch the pain. I even gave him two at a time during the night, and it didnt really help. Hes complaining of stomach pain now too. Should I bring him to the emergency room or what? The surgeon is taken aback. He wonders if Mr. Morgan (or maybe even Mrs. Morgan) is a drug-seeker, or if the patient had a history of illicit drug use that the surgeon
was unaware of. Scenario 2 Whats wrong with the picture? A. The surgeon over-prescribed and the patient is experiencing opioid-induced hyperalgesia B. Clearly the pharmacy made a dispensing error C. The surgeon took the CDC guidelines a little TOO seriously D. The surgeon probably didnt do ANY equianalgesic calculations; just defaulted to lowest dose oxycodone/acetaminophen Scenario 2 Whats wrong with the picture? A. The surgeon over-prescribed and the patient is experiencing opioid-induced hyperalgesia B. Clearly the pharmacy made a dispensing error C. The surgeon took the CDC guidelines a little TOO seriously D. The surgeon probably didnt do ANY equianalgesic calculations; just defaulted to lowest dose oxycodone/acetaminophen
Scenario 2 Whats wrong with the picture? Mr. Morgan is in a pain crisis (possibly opioid withdrawal). The surgeon is trying to be a good academic citizen and follow the CDC guidelines. Mrs. Morgan wants to throw them both in the river! Mr. Morgan had received 6 mg IV hydromorphone in the 12 hours prior to discharge, so approximately 12 mg IV hydromorphone in 24 hours X mg oral oxycodone_ = 20 mg oral oxycodone 12 mg IV hydromorphone 2 mg IV hydromorphone X = 120 mg oral oxycodone in 24 hours The surgeon sent the patient home on a maximum of 30 mg oral oxycodone per day a dramatic reduction and insufficient opioid. Patient c/o nausea could be opioid withdrawal
Scenario 2 Play it again Sam! Surgeon could have used short- or long-acting oxycodone (or both) She could have prescribed OxyContin 10 mg and recommended the following: Day 1 at home 3 tablets every 12 hours of OxyContin 10 mg (OxyContin 30 mg po q12h) Day 2 at home 2 tablets every 12 hours of OxyContin 10 mg (OxyContin 20 mg po q12h) Day 3 at home 1 tablet every 12 hours of OxyContin 10 mg (OxyContin 10 mg po q12h) And supplement with oxycodone 10 or 15 mg every 4 hours as needed. Alternately the surgeon could have gone with oxycodone 15 mg, 1-2 tablets every 4 hours as needed, and explain he will probably need it regularly the first few days, then expect use to fall off. Could supplement with acetaminophen 4 grams a day. May require even more/longer opioid therapy. Scenario 3
Scenario 3 Whats the sitch? Mrs. Gladson is a 78 year old woman diagnosed with end-stage hepatic cancer. She was admitted to hospice on MS Contin 15 mg po q12h with oral morphine solution 5 mg every 3 hours as needed for additional pain. Hospice RN reports patient is having a pain crisis; she is taking her MS Contin as directed and several doses of oral morphine solution with no relief at all. Patient rates pain as greater than a 10 on a 0-10 scale, family is insistent she be admitted to the hospice inpatient unit. She is transported to the inpatient unit, arriving at 6 pm. The attending on call is Dr. Doogie Howser (hes so excited this is his first position post-fellowship!). Dr. Howser calculates that the patient was receiving approximately 40 mg oral morphine in the past 24 hours, which he figures in about 16-mg IV morphine per day (0.6 mg/h) He orders a 2.5 mg IV morphine loading dose, and a continuous infusion at 1.2 mg/hour, with an order to titrate to comfort per nursing judgment.
Scenario 3 Whats the sitch? The family stays with the patient and keeps the nurse informed as to the patients response to the morphine infusion. The family is concerned that shes still complaining of pain that she rates as 9/10 at 8 pm, so the nurse increases the infusion to 3 mg/hour and the clinician bolus to 5 mg. At 10 pm the family reports the patient is still grimacing and crying out, so the nurse repeats the 5 mg IV morphine loading dose and increases the continuous infusion to 5 mg/hour The patient seems to settle down, and the family leaves around midnight. When the nurse checks on Mrs. Gladson at 3 am, she is nonresponsive, even to sternal rub. Her respiratory rate is 6 breaths/minute with periods of apnea. She has pinpoint pupils, and the nurse calls Dr. Howser in a panic. Scenario 3 Whats wrong with this picture? A. The family must have increased Mrs. Gladsons infusion before they left B. The nurse was trigger happy with the hourly clinician bolus C. Dr. Howser incorrectly calculated the starting dose of morphine (bolus and infusion)
D. The infusion rate was titrated incorrectly (too quickly) Scenario 3 Whats wrong with this picture? A. The family must have increased Mrs. Gladsons infusion before they left B. The nurse was trigger happy with the hourly clinician bolus C. Dr. Howser incorrectly calculated the starting dose of morphine (bolus and infusion) D. The infusion rate was titrated incorrectly (too quickly) The family didnt do anything. The nurse gave the hourly bolus as ordered. Dr. Howsers math was fine. That leaves us with the order was inappropriate titrate to comfort?? The infusion started at 6 pm, increased at 8 pm and again at 10 pm. The patient is elderly and has a terminal illness, so her half-life of morphine is probably closer to 5 hours. To get to 87.5% or 93.75% of the way to steady-state it would take 15-20 hours, NOT 4 hours. The infusion was titrated way too aggressively, too quickly. Scenario 3 Whats wrong with this picture?
We need to recognize the two issues at play here: We need to FULLY appreciate the clinical impact of the current continuous opioid infusion dose when it achieves a steady-state serum level (both therapeutic gain and potential toxicity) BEFORE we increase the dose (and make the situation worse, and that always seems to happen at 3 am when no one is really paying close attention); and We dont want the patient to suffer with pain while we are waiting for the magical moment of steady-sate to make sure we havent overdosed the patient. Doogie, Doogie, DOOGIEthis is why we never let 14 year-olds be doctors EVER! Answer is Why yes, I happen to look good in orange. Why do you ask? If you start an IV infusion of morphine at 2 mg/hour and order titrate to comfort, the consequences may beg the question how you look in orange.
Titrate to Comfort is not a good look Half-life of morphine General population 2-3 hours Cancer patients 5 hours Liver impairment 8 or more hours Number t % of Steady State Achieved 2 hour t 3 hour t
5 hour t 8 hour t 1 50 2 3 5 8
2 75 4 6 10 16 3 87.5
6 9 15 24 4 93.75 8 12
20 32 5 96.875 10 15 25 40
J Pall Med 2007;10(6):1369-1394; Micromedex 2016 Titrate to Comfort is not a good look Number t % of Steady State Achieved 2 hour t 3 hour t 4 hour t 8 hour t
1 50 2 3 5 8 2 75
4 6 10 16 3 87.5 6 9
15 24 4 93.75 8 12 20 32
5 96.875 10 15 25 40 More aggressive increase continuous infusion in 8 -12 hours Titrate to Comfort is not a good look
Number t % of Steady State Achieved 2 hour t 3 hour t 4 hour t 8 hour t 1
50 2 3 5 8 2 75 4
6 10 16 3 87.5 6 9 15
24 4 93.75 8 12 20 32 5
96.875 10 15 25 40 Most aggressive increase continuous infusion in 8 -12 hours More conservative increase continuous infusion in 12-24 hours Scenario 3 Play it again Sam! Dr. Howser correctly calculated the patients home use of oral morphine (40 mg a day) and converted this to an IV infusion (0.6 mg/hour).
Given patients severe pain he correctly doubled it to 1.2 mg/hour as a continuous infusion. He correctly ordered a clinician bolus (for the RN to give as often as hourly) (10-20% of the total opioid taken in the previous 24 hours [10% 16 mg IV morphine equivalent = 1.6 mg; 20% = 3.2 mg]) He should NOT have ordered titrate to comfort per nursing judgment should have given better guidance. Administer 2.5 mg IV morphine now. Begin continuous morphine infusion at 1.2 mg/hour. Reassess pain every 30 minutes x 3 and repeat 2.5 mg IV bolus dose of morphine if pain decreased but not adequately controlled, or increase to 5 mg if pain unchanged or increased. If pain is not adequately controlled after 3-IV bolus doses, contact prescriber. Do not increase continuous infusion before 8 am (morning rounds). Scenario 5 Scenario 5 Whats the sitch? Mrs. Madderhorn is an 82-year-old woman with multiple comorbidities, including: uterine cancer,
post-stroke pain, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis (knees, hips, spine) and Alzheimers dementia. Patient lives in a LTC facility because her care is too great for her family to handle at home. Usual BP is 105/70 mmHg, HR 68 bpm, RR 16 bpm 50, 86 pounds Her appetite is poor, and she appears to be malnourished She has been admitted to hospice under the uterine cancer diagnosis She is receiving MS Contin 15 mg by mouth every 12 hours with oral morphine solution for breakthrough (not using) on admission, but as her dementia worsened she started to forget to take her medication. The family couldnt handle her so she was admitted to a LTC facility. Scenario 5 Whats the sitch? Patient was switched to transdermal fentanyl (TDF) 12 mcg/h with oral morphine solution for breakthrough pain, 5 mg every 2 hours as needed. The hospice nurse, Stephanie, observes that Mrs. Madderhorn is exhibiting signs of pain, even though the patient isnt verbal.
Stephanie uses the Checklist of Nonverbal Pain Indicators and decides the patient is in moderate pain; TDF is increased to 25 mcg/h on day 3, and again to 50 mcg/h on day 5. Stephanie reports to the team that the patient doesnt seem to be getting the relief from the TDF patch that you would expect. Based on the patient using TDF 50 mcg/h, the physician switched the patient to MS Contin 60 mg po q12h due to continued pain with oral morphine 15 mg every 2 hours as needed for pain. Stephanie was instructed to remove the TDF and start MS Contin 12 hours later Within 24-36 hours Mrs. Madderhorn is completed zonked and very hard to wake up. The LTC nurse says she cant awaken the patient to administer the MS Contin. Uh oh. Scenario 5 Whats wrong with this picture? A. The patient was never an appropriate candidate for transdermal fentanyl (TDF) B. The patient was wasted and cachectic, making her a poor candidate for TDF C. TDF was titrated too quickly D. The conversion OFF TDF was incorrectly calculated
E. All of the above (duh) Scenario 5 Whats wrong with this picture? A. The patient was never an appropriate candidate for transdermal fentanyl (TDF) B. The patient was wasted and cachectic, making her a poor candidate for TDF C. TDF was titrated too quickly D. The conversion OFF TDF was incorrectly calculated E. All of the above (duh) She was not receiving > 60 mg oral morphine per day for at least a week. Patient cachectic and unlikely to get full benefit from TDF. Titrated way too quickly day 3 and day 5 Physician gave her full credit for TDF AND increased the dose of morphine too aggressive! Transitioned too quickly to MS Contin (should have waited 24 hours) Whats the Skinny on Transdermal
Fentanyl? Transdermal Fentanyl Useful with patients who cannot swallow tablets or capsules Mu-opioid receptor agonist; 75-100x potency of morphine Metabolized in liver to inactive metabolites; useful in renal patients Fat-soluble; large volume of distribution; highly bound to albumin Routes of administration Parenteral IV, IM, SQ, intrathecal Transmucosal buccal, sublingual, intranasal Transdermal Indicated for the management of pain in opioid-tolerant patients, severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment for which alternative treatment options are inadequate.
Mr. Johnson 72 year old man admitted to hospice with end stage liver cancer Lives alone, caregiver visits daily Experiencing pain; order for morphine 5 mg po q4h as needed Caregiver gives one dose; patient forgets he has it otherwise 60 mg oral morphine per day RN suggests TDF 12 mcg/h (lowest dose) every 3 days 30 mg oral oxycodone per day Is this appropriate? 8 mg oral hydromorphone per day
25 mg oral oxymorphone per day Mr. Johnson is not appropriate for TDF. Cannot use TDF for acute pain, or in opioid-nave patients. 60 mg oral hydrocodone per day Equianalgesic dose of other opioid Other TDF facts Available in two formulations Gel-containing reservoir (Duragesic) and drug-in-adhesive matrix Drug absorbed via passive diffusion (area of higher to lower concentration)
Produces drug depot in upper skin layers, then diffuses into systemic circulation TDF available as 12, 25, 50, 75, 100 mcg/h Usually q72h; 15-20% need q48h Apply to chest, back, flank or upper arm (intact skin, non-irritated, non-irradiated; do not shave hair) Minimum serum level 12 hours; max in 36 hours; steady state 3-6 days Other TDF Facts Burn, baby, burn Body temperature of 104F increases fentanyl concentration by 30% Infectious process, heating pad, electric blanket, tanning bed, sunbathing, hot bath, hot tub, sauna Converting to TDF Total daily dose oral morphine (mg/day) / 2 = TDF mcg/h patch strength 100 mg oral morphine per day ~ TDF 50 mcg/h
Cachexia Cachectic patients do not get full expected benefit from TDF Application site fat pad? Sequestered with albumin in extravascular space Be careful switching OFF TDF in cachectic patients Scenario 5 Play it again Sam! If the family had a paid caregiver all along, the caregiver could have given the MS Contin and the breakthrough morphine, avoiding the need to consider TDF. Patient was NOT a candidate for TDF (not receiving 60 mg oral morphine per day for at least a week) TDF increased too quickly can increase on Day 3, then every 6 days thereafter Converting OFF TDF 50 mcg/h ~ 100 mg oral morphine, then MD increased to 120 mg oral morphine too high Should have gone back to MS Contin 15 mg po q12h (or even used short-acting morphine instead
around the clock until the dust settled). Safer to wait 24 hours before starting scheduled morphine; can start PRN dose as soon as the TDF was removed Scenario 7 Scenario 7 Whats the sitch? Ms. Ives is a 32 year old woman with end-stage cervical cancer, referred to hospice. On admission she is receiving IV morphine 30 mg/hour, with a 10-mg bolus every 15 minutes as needed (using at least once, often twice, per hour). Her 24-hour use of IV morphine is 1,080 mg, which is about equivalent to 2,700 mg oral morphine per day. Wow, thats a lotta morphine! The attending physician, Dr. Rosenthal says, This dose of morphine is ridiculous! She can swallow and she has a fair prognosis lets switch her to methadone. Dr. Rosenthal asks you to do the conversion calculation. Oh my where to start so many
methods recommended in the literature! Scenario 7 Whats the sitch? You decide to use the Ayonrinde methadone which calls for a 20:1 (oral morphine:oral methadone) conversion for a total daily oral morphine dose over 1001 mg/day. This calculates to 135 mg oral methadone per day. The patient declines to be admitted as an inpatient (shes a single mother with three small children at home), so you decide to do this as a rapid switch at home. You stop the morphine infusion, start methadone 45 mg by mouth every 8 hours, and you decide to use morphine 60 mg by mouth every 2 hours as needed for breakthrough pain. For the first couple of days things are a little rough; the patient uses the morphine breakthrough pain dose frequently. They by Day 2-3, things are starting to look up. The patient has achieved a reasonable level of pain control, and shes actually happy to not be dragging the IV pump around with her. Day 4 she complains of being really sleepy, and Day 5 she cant get OOB. Whats the scoop?
Scenario 7 Whats wrong with this picture? A. Ayonrinde was all washed up B. Research has shown there should be a MAXIMUM starting dose of methadone C. You shouldnt have included the breakthrough morphine doses in your calculation D. The conversion should have been done over three days instead of a rapid switch Scenario 7 Whats wrong with this picture? A. Ayonrinde was all washed up B. Research has shown there should be a MAXIMUM starting dose of methadone C. You shouldnt have included the breakthrough morphine doses in your calculation D. The conversion should have been done over three days instead of a rapid switch Ayonrinde was NOT all washed up, but Dr. Eduardo Bruera argues WHY there is a sort of proposed maximum starting dose for methadone, regardless of how much opioid you are switching FROM: Slight binding differences at the opioid receptor Methadone has multiple mechanisms of action High dose of current opioid may be proalgesic (causing pain hyperalgesia)
Chatham and colleagues reported a series of 10 patients receiving very high-dose morphine, and the vast majority were convert to, and stabilized on methadone 10 mg po q8h. APS guidelines on methadone use suggest starting no higher than 30-40 mg oral methadone per day Scenario 7 Play it again Sam! This is a huge conversion, would be better accomplished inpatient Or, so a partial conversion over several weeks Last, the maximum starting dose of methadone should not exceed 30-40 mg a day Close follow-up is critically important! Common Pharmacomistakes in Advanced Illness Opioid Conversion
MISCalculations! Achieving Pain Relief Quickly AND Safely! Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE Professor, Executive Director Advanced Post-Graduate Education in Palliative Care Program Director, Online Master of Science and Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care graduate.umaryland.edu/palliative | [email protected]
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