June 3, 2019

Effect of opioid-sparing postop pathway on patient satisfaction, pain control

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor’s Note

Patients on an opioid-sparing postoperative pain management pathway reported minimal or no opioid use and high satisfaction and pain control in this study.

A total of 190 patients having one of six different procedures participated in the pathway and were advised to use acetaminophen and ibuprofen every 6 hours around the clock. They also were provided a small “rescue” opioid prescription for breakthrough pain.

More than half (52%) used no opioids postoperatively, and almost all (91%) of the patients reported that their pain was manageable. Of those who used opioids, the median use was four pills, and the median number of leftover pills was two.

The findings show the effectiveness and acceptability of a major reduction and even elimination of opioids after six surgical procedures, the researchers say. They are expanding their list of procedures from 6 to 18 and are working to implement the pathway in other institutions across the state of Michigan.

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