Effect of Prescription Size on Opioid Use and Patient Satisfaction After Minor Hand Surgery: A Randomized Clinical Trial.Citation: Annals of Surgery. 270(6):976-982, 2019 Dec.PMID: 31730554Institution: MedStar Washington Hospital CenterDepartment: NeurosurgeryForm of publication: Journal ArticleMedline article type(s): Journal ArticleSubject headings: IN PROCESS -- NOT YET INDEXEDYear: 2019ISSN:
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BACKGROUND: Retrospective studies have shown that opioid prescriptions for acute pain after surgical procedures are often excessive in size, which encourages misuse. This is the first prospective randomized trial on the influence of initial prescription size on opioid consumption in the setting of acute postsurgical pain.
CONCLUSIONS: Providing large opioid prescriptions for the management of acute pain after minor upper extremity surgeries increases overall opioid use when compared with smaller initial prescriptions. The size of initial opioid prescription is a modifiable variable that should be considered both in patient care and research design.
METHODS: In a prospective randomized trial at a single-academic institution, patients were provided an initial prescription of either 10 or 30 hydrocodone/acetaminophen (5/325 mg) pills after surgery. Two hundred opioid-naive patients, aged 19 to 69, undergoing elective outpatient minor hand surgeries were enrolled over 9 months, with a follow-up period of 10 to 14 days.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the influence of initial prescription size on opioid consumption after minor hand surgeries. Secondary outcomes include efficacy of pain control, patient satisfaction, and refill requests.
RESULTS: One hundred seventy-four patients were included in this analysis. Patients initially prescribed 30 pills (n = 79), when compared with patients initially prescribed 10 pills (n = 95), used significantly more opioid (P = <0.001, mean 11.9 vs 6.4 pills), had significantly more leftover medication (P = <0.001, mean 20.0 vs 5.2 pills), and were over 3 times more likely to still be taking opioid at follow-up (15% vs 4%). There was no significant difference in refills requested, or in patient satisfaction with postoperative pain control.