Seven Common Surgical Procedures Associated with Chronic Opioid Abuse; and Four that Are Not

July 13, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​While patients undergoing seven common surgical procedures are at an increased risk for chronic opioid use after the procedure, the overall risk remains less than 0.5% for these patients, according to a study published July 11, 2016, in JAMA Internal Medicine. The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of administrative health claims for privately insured patients who underwent one of 11 surgical procedures between 2001 and 2013. An increased risk of chronic opioid abuse compared with nonsurgical patients was associated with the following seven procedures: total knee arthroplasty, total hip arthroplasty, open cholecystectomy, simple mastectomy, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, open appendectomy, and cesarean delivery. The authors defined opioid abuse as having filled 10 or more prescriptions, or more than 120 days' supply of opioids in the first year after surgery, excluding the first 90 days following the procedure. For the nonsurgical control group, the authors defined abuse as filling 10 or more prescriptions during randomly assigned 120-day periods.

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