What is the optimal length for an opioid prescription following common surgical procedures?

A study published online in the journal JAMA Surgery attempts to identify optimal ranges of initial durations of opioid prescriptions among opioid-naive surgical patients. 

The researchers conducted a cohort study of 215,140 opioid-naïve patients who had undergone one of eight common surgical procedures, including anterior cruciate ligament repair, rotator cuff repair, or diskectomy. They observed that the median prescription lengths were 4 days for general surgery procedures, 4 days for women’s health procedures, and 6 days for musculoskeletal procedures. However, the initial prescription lengths associated with the lowest requirements for refills were 9 days for general surgery, 13 days for women’s health, and 15 days for musculoskeletal procedures. The researchers write that the data suggest an optimal length of opioid prescription of 6 to 15 days for the musculoskeletal procedures studied. Learn more...

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