SGS Papers| Volume 227, ISSUE 2, P313.e1-313.e9, August 2022

A randomized trial of standard vs restricted opioid prescribing following midurethral sling


      Postoperative opioid prescribing has historically lacked information crucial to balancing the pain control needs of the individual patient with our professional responsibility to judiciously prescribe these high-risk medications.


      This study aimed to evaluate pain control, satisfaction with pain control, and opioid use among patients undergoing isolated midurethral sling randomized to 1 of 2 different opioid-prescribing regimens.

      Study Design

      Patients who underwent isolated midurethral sling placement from June 1, 2020, to November 22, 2021, were offered enrollment into this prospective, randomized, open-label, noninferiority clinical trial. Participants were randomized to receive either a standard prescription of ten 5-mg oxycodone tablets provided preoperatively (standard) or an opioid prescription provided only during patient request postoperatively (restricted). Preoperatively, all participants completed baseline demographic and pain surveys, including the 9-Question Central Sensitization Index, Pain Catastrophizing Scale, and Likert pain score (scale 0–10). The participants completed daily surveys for 1 week after surgery to determine the average daily pain score, number of opioids used, other forms of pain management, satisfaction with pain control, perception of the number of opioids prescribed, and need to return to care for pain management. The online Prescription Drug Monitoring Program was used to determine opioid filling in the postoperative period. The primary outcome was average postoperative day 1 pain score, and an a priori determined margin of noninferiority was set at 2 points.


      Overall, 82 patients underwent isolated midurethral sling placement and met the inclusion criteria: 40 were randomized to the standard arm, and 42 were randomized to the restricted group. Concerning the primary outcome of average postoperative day 1 pain score, the restricted arm (mean pain score, 3.9±2.4) was noninferior to the standard arm (mean pain score, 3.7±2.7; difference in means, 0.23; 95% confidence interval, −∞ to 1.34). Of note, 23 participants (57.5%) in the standard arm vs 8 participants (19.0%) in the restricted arm filled an opioid prescription (P<.001). Moreover, 18 of 82 participants (22.0%) used opioids during the 7-day postoperative period, with 10 (25.0%) in the standard arm and 8 (19.0%) in the restricted arm using opioids (P=.52). Of participants using opioids, the average number of tablets used was 3.4±2.3, and only 3 participants used ≥5 tablets. On a scale of 1=“prescribed far more opioids than needed” to 5=“prescribed far less opioids than needed,” the means were 1.9±1.0 in the standard arm and 2.7±1.0 in the restricted arm (P<.001).


      Restricted opioid prescription was noninferior to standard opioid prescription in the setting of pain control and satisfaction with pain control after isolated midurethral placement. Participants in the restricted arm filled fewer opioid prescriptions than participants in the standard arm. On average, only 3.4 tablets were used by those that filled prescriptions in both groups. Restrictive opioid-prescribing practices may reduce unused opioids in the community while achieving similar pain control.

      Key words

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