Opioid reduction and elimination in pediatric surgical patients.
INTRODUCTION: Opioid overuse is a national concern. Mitigation strategies include judicious prescribing and encouragement of non-opioid therapies. This quality improvement project aimed to identify physician opioid prescribing and patient usage patterns at a pediatric academic center.
METHODS: Patients who underwent same-day general, orthopedic, or plastic surgery procedures were contacted 7 - 28 days post-operatively. Inquiries were made about opioid usage, non-opioid strategies, and overall pain management satisfaction. A subset of general surgery patients not prescribed opioids was compared to those prescribed opioids.
RESULTS: Between August 2017 - May 2020, 558 surveys were obtained. There was a significant increase in the use of non-opioid therapies between 2017 and 2020 (83.5% vs 97%, p=0.04). Almost all patients' opioid prescriptions were filled; however, 78-98% had leftover opioids. Only 20-25% disposed the excess opioids. In subset analysis of general surgery patients, no inguinal hernia or orchiopexy patient who was discharged without opioids required opioids later. More non-opioid patients used other therapies (acetaminophen, heat (p=0.03)); however, pain management satisfaction was higher in the opioid group (99% vs 94%, p=0.01).
CONCLUSION: While our opioid prescribing has decreased, physicians are still prescribing more opioids than patients require. Further education on non-opioid pain therapies and proper disposal of opioids are needed.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III TYPE OF STUDY: prospective quality improvement study.
Journal of pediatric surgery
Analgesics, Opioid; Child; Humans; Male; Pain Management; Pain, Postoperative; Practice Patterns, Physicians'; Prospective Studies
opioid; opioid prescribing; pain management; pediatric surgery; pediatrics; surgery
Svetanoff WJ, Aviles N, Edmundson E, Millspaugh D, Fraser JD. Opioid reduction and elimination in pediatric surgical patients. J Pediatr Surg. 2022;57(4):670-677. doi:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2021.10.012