Implementation of CYP2D6-guided opioid therapy at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2023 Jun 22;80(13):852-859. doi: 10.1093/ajhp/zxad025.


Purpose: We describe the implementation of CYP2D6-focused pharmacogenetic testing to guide opioid prescribing in a quaternary care, nonprofit pediatric academic medical center.

Summary: Children are often prescribed oral opioids after surgeries, for cancer pain, and occasionally for chronic pain. In 2004, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center implemented pharmacogenetic testing for CYP2D6 metabolism phenotype to inform codeine prescribing. The test and reports were updated to align with changes over time in the testing platform, the interpretation of genotype to phenotype, the electronic health record, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance. The use of the test increased when a research project required testing and decreased as prescribing of oxycodone increased due to FDA warnings about codeine. Education about the opioid-focused pharmacogenetic test was provided to prescribers (eg, the pain and sickle cell teams) as well as patients and families. Education and electronic health record capability increased provider compliance with genotype-guided postsurgical prescribing of oxycodone, although there was a perceived lack of utility for oxycodone prescribing.

Conclusion: The implementation of pharmacogenetic testing to inform opioid prescribing for children has evolved with accumulating evidence and guidelines, requiring changes in reporting of results and recommendations.

Keywords: analgesics; cytochrome P450 CYP2D6; opioid; pharmacogenetics.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid* / adverse effects
  • Chronic Pain* / drug therapy
  • Codeine / adverse effects
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Oxycodone
  • Pharmacogenetics / methods
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Oxycodone
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Codeine