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Restrictive post-op opioid prescribing may decrease chronic opioid use

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An opioid prescription for a supply of ≤3 days is feasible for most patients undergoing surgery and may decrease chronic opioid use, according to a study.

In this cohort study, all patients who underwent surgery from August 1, 2018, to July 31, 2019 were included. A restrictive opioid prescription protocol (ROPP) of opioid supply of ≤3 days after discharge from surgery along with standardized patient education was implemented for patients who underwent surgery on or after February 1, 2019. The ROPP compliance rate was 95%.

The pre-ROPP group (n = 4068 patients) had a mean of 3.9 opioid prescription days compared with 1.9 days in the post-ROPP group (n = 2051), resulting in a 45% decrease in prescribed opioids after surgery.

In addition, patients in the post-ROPP group requested fewer refills than those in the pre-ROPP groups (17.9% vs 20.9%).

No statistically significant difference in surgical complications was noted.

Zsiros E, Ricciuti J, Gallo S, et al. Postoperative Restrictive Opioid Protocols and Durable Changes in Opioid Prescribing and Chronic Opioid Use. JAMA Oncol. 2023;doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.6278. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36602807.