Dramatic Reduction In Opioid Prescribing For Common Outpatient Orthopaedic Lower Extremity Surgical Procedures At A Louisiana University-based Safety-net Hospital After Enactment Of Opioid-limiting State Legislation
Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Introduction:The opioid epidemic in the United States has been fueled by overprescribing opioids, which is particularly apparent in orthopaedics. Stakeholders, including state legislatures, have attempted to curb opioid overprescribing to reduce related abuse/dependence, overdose deaths, and diversion.Objective:To examine trends in opioid prescribing for common outpatient lower extremity orthopaedic surgeries in a population vulnerable to prolonged opioid use before and after the enactment of a 2017 Louisiana state law limiting opioid prescribing for acute pain.Methods:Eligible patients were adults who underwent one of the five most common outpatient lower extremity orthopaedic surgeries done during 2013 to 2018 at an urban tertiary care academic medical center. Excluded were prisoners and patients who required inpatient hospitalization, had no documented discharge opioid prescription, or filled an opioid prescription unrelated to their orthopaedic procedure within 30 days before surgery.Results:During 2013 to 2018, 655 surgical procedures were done in 655 eligible patients, of whom 49% were Black and 54% were insured by Medicaid. The mean morphine milligram equivalent per discharge prescription decreased by almost 70% from 2014 to 2018. A statistically significant decrease in the mean morphine milligram equivalent per discharge prescription was observed in 2018 versus all previous years (P < 0.0001 for all) and in 2017 versus all previous years (P < 0.0001 for all). Patients receiving at least one new opioid prescription after their discharge prescription declined over time from a high of 50% in 2013 to a low of 19.3% in 2018 with a statistically significant effect over time (P < 0.0001).Discussion:Opioid prescribing for patients undergoing common outpatient lower extremity orthopaedic surgeries who were at high risk for prolonged opioid use markedly declined after the enactment of a state law limiting first-Time opioid prescriptions to 7 days, requiring physicians to check the state's Prescription Monitoring Program database and mandating continuing education for opioid prescribers.
Bronstone, Amy B.; Leonardi, Claudia; Kubilay, Tara; Plessl, Daniel S.; Morreale, Peter J.; Tortorich, Gregory M.; and Krause, Peter C., "Dramatic Reduction In Opioid Prescribing For Common Outpatient Orthopaedic Lower Extremity Surgical Procedures At A Louisiana University-based Safety-net Hospital After Enactment Of Opioid-limiting State Legislation" (2022). School of Medicine Faculty Publications. 1326.