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Reducing Opioid Duration More Effective in Curbing Misuse After Surgery

According to a new study, reducing prescription opioid duration, not dosage, may be more effective in curbing misuse after surgery.
Published Online: Jun 12,2018
Jennifer Barrett, Associate Editor
According to a new study, reducing prescription opioid duration, not dosage, may be more effective in curbing misuse after surgery.

According to the study, which was published in the BMJ, overprescribing is thought to be a major contributor to opioid misuse. Because surgical patients are nearly 4 times more likely to receive post-discharge opioids, there is a high risk of potential for addiction. However, the lack of guidance surrounding postsurgical opioid prescribing makes it difficult to determine the best approach to post-discharge opioid prescribing.
 
For the study, the researchers examined the association between opioid prescription refills after surgery and misuse in an opioid naïve population using data on surgical patients with medical and pharmacy insurance from a database at Aetna. Data included information on nearly 38 million members between 2008 and 2016, and a member was considered to be opioid naïve and eligible for inclusion if his or her total opioid use in the 60 days before surgery was 7 days or less.

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