August 15, 2019

Statewide initiative reduces postop opioid prescribing without increase in patient pain

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

Implementation of opioid prescribing guidelines in the state of Michigan reduced opioid prescription size without negatively affecting patient satisfaction or pain, this study finds.

In 1 year, teams at 43 hospitals across the state reduced by nearly one-third the number of opioid pills they prescribed to patients (having nine common surgical procedures) from an average of 26 per patient to 18.

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The ratings their patients gave for their postoperative pain and satisfaction did not change from the ratings given by patients treated in the 6 months before implementation of the guidelines.

Throughout the study, patients reported they only took half the opioids prescribed to them−even as the number of pills shrank.

The success of the initiative in Michigan suggests an opportunity for other states to build on the experience and further reduce prescription size, the authors note.


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