A study in which Michigan surgical patients received reduced amounts of opioids post-surgery has found that the change did not result in an overall worsening of pain or patient satisfaction.
The study, outlined in a research letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved implementation of an effort to help surgical teams employ opioid prescribing guidelines developed at the University of Michigan. The participating hospitals reduced by nearly one-third the number of opioids they prescribed post-surgery for procedures that included gall bladder removal, appendectomy and hernia repair, according to an MLive report.
The researchers found that pain and satisfaction ratings from the patients whose prescribing was governed by the revised guidelines were not changed from ratings of patients in the six months before the effort to reduce prescribing.
In addition, patients reported that they took only half of the opioids they had received, a result that researchers attributed to enhanced pre-surgery counseling about pain and alternatives to opioids.