August 22, 2019

Effect of state legislation in Florida on opioid prescriptions after outpatient surgery

By: Judy Mathias

Editor’s Note

Opioid prescriptions for patients having common outpatient surgical procedures at a large university hospital in Florida were substantially reduced within 6 months after implementation of state legislation limiting the duration of opioid prescriptions, this study finds.

Of 1,467 surgical patients included in the study:

  • The proportion receiving opioid prescriptions decreased by 21%.
  • The mean total opioid dose prescribed decreased by 64.2 morphine milligram equivalents.
  • The mean daily opioid dose prescribed increased by 3.5 morphine milligram equivalents.
  • The proportion of patients receiving opioid prescriptions for longer than a 3-day supply decreased by 68%.
  • There was no change in the number of postoperative ED visits after implementation of the law.

The legislation should significantly decrease the amount of unused opioid pills available for diversion and abuse, the researchers note.

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