Discharge prescription patterns of opioid and nonopioid analgesics after common surgical procedures

Nooromid, M. J.; Blay, E., Jr.; Holl, J. L.; Bilimoria, K. Y.; Johnson, J. K.; Eskandari, M. K.; Stulberg, J. J.

Pain Rep. 2018 Feb 13; 3(1):e637


Introduction: Recent literature has shown a wide variation in the prescribing patterns of opioids after elective surgery. We conducted an evaluation of discharge opioid prescribing after elective surgical procedures to determine whether opioid-prescribing patterns varied at our institution. Method: A single academic medical center retrospective review of patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy, laparoscopic appendectomy, open umbilical hernia repair, simple mastectomy, or thyroidectomy between July 2015 and July 2016. Results: Among a total of 615 unique surgical cases, we found a wide variation in the number of pills and morphine milligram equivalents prescribed for each procedure evaluated. In addition, 94.8% of all patients discharged received a prescription for opioids, whereas only 15.6% of patients received a prescription for a nonopioid analgesic. Conclusion: The number and strength of opioids prescribed after surgery can vary widely at a single institution. Further research is needed to elucidate variations in prescribing.

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