ODPRN suggested calculation of opioid milligrams of morphine equivalents

Opioids are a group of drugs commonly prescribed to treat pain. Some opioids are also used as cough suppressants or as treatments for opioid use disorder. The safety of prescription opioid use and the rate at which these medications are being prescribed is of considerable concern.

Opioids used for pain include a number of different drugs with different formulations that vary on a chemical level. These differences affect how much of the drug a person needs (i.e. potency) to reach the same desired analgesic effect. To allow us to compare and combine all opioid drugs, we calculate dose in milligrams of morphine or equivalent (mg MEQ; this may also be referred to as MME [milligrams morphine equivalent] or mg MED [milligrams morphine equivalent dose]), which is a standardized measure of the total amount of opioid dispensed on a single prescription or more broadly into the community. The ODPRN has created this resource to aid researchers to appropriately calculate MEQs for various oral opioid analgesics and promote consistency in related scientific literature.

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