Background: Opioid abuse is a growing epidemic in the United States, with opioid overdose becoming a leading cause of death. There is wide variation in prescription practices for post-operative opioids due to absence of guidelines. The purpose of this study is to examine postoperative opioid prescribing patterns after urogynecologic surgery and determine usage and management of opioid pills by patients. Materials and Methods: This is an observational, prospective study of female patients (N = 143) who underwent urogynecologic (prolapse or incontinence) surgery from June to December 2017 at a single academic center. Patients were surveyed regarding their pain medication use 30 days postoperatively. Survey questions included preoperative pain medication use, quantity of opioid pills consumed, need for additional opioid prescription, and management of remaining pills. T-test and one-way Anova were used for comparison of continuous variables and chi-squared test used for comparison of categorical variables. Results: Of 143 eligible patients, 99 (69%) responded; 62% of respondent patients underwent vaginal surgery, 22% abdominal surgery with or without vaginal surgery, and 15% underwent other procedures. Postoperatively, 81.8% of patients were prescribed opioids. The average number of tablets prescribed ranged from 12.4 to 17.4 depending on the procedure. 54.3% of patients reported using less than half of their prescribed opioid prescription. Of the patients who had excess opioid tablets, only 8.6% reported discarding their opioids. Conclusion: To date, no guidelines exist on prescribing opioids postoperatively. Opioids are overprescribed post-operatively with over half of patients using less than half of the opioids prescribed to them.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology