Oligoanalgesia in the emergency department

Am J Emerg Med. 1989 Nov;7(6):620-3. doi: 10.1016/0735-6757(89)90286-6.


A review of the charts of 198 patients who were admitted through the emergency department with a variety of acutely painful medical and surgical conditions revealed that 56% received no analgesic medication while in the emergency department. In the 44% of patients who received pain medication, 69% waited more than 1 hour while 42% waited more than 2 hours before narcotic analgesia was administered. In addition, 32% initially received less than an optimal equianalgesic dose of narcotic when compared with morphine. This study demonstrates that narcotic misues, in the form of oligoanalgesia, is prevalent and is the shared responsibility of both emergency physicians and housestaff consultants.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesia / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narcotics / administration & dosage*
  • Ohio
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Narcotics