Assessing the impact of procedure-specific opioid prescribing recommendations on opioid stewardship following pelvic organ prolapse surgery


      Nationally, there is increasing concern regarding the volume of opioid medications prescribed postoperatively and the rate of prescription opioid−related adverse events. In evaluation of this, several reports have identified significant variability in postoperative opioid-prescribing patterns, including quantities exceeding patient’s needs, especially after minor surgical procedures. However, data regarding patient’s postoperative opioids needs following surgery for pelvic organ prolapse are sparse.


      To design procedure-specific opioid-prescribing recommendations for pelvic organ prolapse surgeries and evaluate their impact on opioid stewardship.

      Study Design

      We prospectively evaluated opioid-prescribing patterns, patient use, medication refills, and patient satisfaction in women undergoing prolapse surgery (ie, vaginal, abdominal, or robotic) during an 8-month time period. Two cohorts of women, stratified by whether they had surgery before or after implementation of procedure-specific opioid-prescribing recommendations, were evaluated. Postoperative opioid usage (assessed via pill count), medication refills, and satisfaction with pain management after hospital dismissal were evaluated by telephone call 2 weeks after surgery. Postoperative opioid prescribing and use were recorded after conversion to oral morphine equivalents.


      Overall, 96 women were included, 57 in the initial baseline cohort, and 39 following implementation of the prescribing recommendations. In the initial cohort, 32.8% of the prescribed oral morphine equivalents (3607/11,007 mg) were consumed. Following implementation of the prescribing recommendations, median oral morphine equivalents prescribed decreased from 200 mg oral morphine equivalents (interquartile range 150, 225) to 112.5 mg oral morphine equivalents (interquartile range 22.5, 112.5; P<.0001). The total oral morphine equivalents prescribed decreased by 45% when compared with the volume that would have been prescribed before implementing the recommendations. The amount of leftover opioids per patient significantly decreased as well (P<.0001). Pain medication refills increased after the intervention (18% vs 3.5%; P=.03), whereas satisfaction scores were similar in both cohorts (P=.87).


      By using procedure-specific opioid prescribing recommendations, we decreased the number of opioids prescribed at hospital dismissal by roughly one half. Decreased opioid prescribing did not adversely impact patient satisfaction.

      Key words

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