Trends in Prehospital Analgesia Administration by US Forces From 2007 Through 2016

Steven G. Schauer, Jason F. Naylor, Joseph K. Maddry, Carmen Hinojosa-Laborde, Michael D. April

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines regarding prehospital analgesia agents have evolved. The guidelines stopped recommending intramuscular (IM) morphine in 1996, recommending only intravenous (IV) routes. In 2006, the guidelines recommended oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC), and in 2012 it added ketamine via all routes. It remains unclear to what extent prehospital analgesia administered on the battlefield adheres to these guidelines. We seek to describe trends in analgesia administration patterns on the battlefield during 2007–2016. Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a Department of Defense Trauma Registry data set from January 2007 to August 2016. Within that group, we searched for subjects who received IM morphine, IV morphine, OTFC, parenteral fentanyl, or ketamine (all routes). Results: Our predefined ED search codes captured 28,222 subjects during the study period. Of these, 594 (2.1%) received IM morphine; 3,765 (13.3%) received IV morphine; 589 (2.1%) received OTFC; and 1,510 (5.4%) subjects received ketamine. Annual rates of administration of IM morphine were relatively stable during the study period, while those for OTFC and ketamine generally trended upward starting in 2012. In particular, the proportion of subjects receiving ketamine rose from 3.9% (n = 995/25,618) during the study period preceding its addition to the TCCC guidelines (2007 to 2012) to 19.8% thereafter (2013–2016, n = 515/2,604, p < 0.001). Conclusions: During the study period, rates of prehospital administration of IM morphine remained relatively stable while those for OTFC and ketamine both rose. These findings suggest that TCCC guidelines recommending the use of these agents had a material impact on prehospital analgesia patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-276
Number of pages6
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • analgesia
  • combat
  • military
  • pain
  • prehospital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency
  • Emergency Medicine


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