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Institutional Guidelines Can Decrease the Amount of Opioids Prescribed After Total Joint Replacement

Authors
  • Kahlenberg, Cynthia A.1
  • Stepan, Jeffrey G.1
  • Premkumar, Ajay1
  • Lovecchio, Francis D.1
  • Cross, Michael B.1
  • 1 Hospital for Special Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 535 E. 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021, USA , New York (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
HSS Journal ®
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2018
Volume
15
Issue
1
Pages
27–30
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11420-018-9632-6
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

BackgroundIn the midst of the nationwide opioid epidemic, our institution began an effort to improve the education of opioid prescribers and disseminate procedure-specific guidelines for the number of opioid pills to prescribe post-operatively for total joint arthroplasty. The number of opioid pills suggested for total hip or knee replacement was 70 tablets.Questions/PurposesWe sought to evaluate the impact of the new institutional guideline on opioid prescribing practices, hypothesizing that it would lead to a decrease in the number of pills prescribed but an increase in patient call volume after discharge.MethodsAfter the new guidelines were implemented in February 2018, we retrospectively reviewed all opioid prescriptions written for patients on the joint-replacement service from March 2016 to March 2018. In addition, we tabulated post-operative telephone calls made to the nurse practitioner service before and after guideline implementation. The majority of calls to the nurse practitioner service are for opioid renewals.ResultsWe included 9514 patients in the analysis. Prior to guideline implementation, the mean number of pills prescribed after primary total joint arthroplasty was 91 ± 26.6 pills and after it was 65 ± 16.3 pills. The monthly number of unique patient telephone interactions was statistically significantly lower after the implementation of the new guidelines.ConclusionAn institutional guideline for opioid prescribing after total joint arthroplasty significantly reduced the number of pills prescribed to patients without causing a significant increase in the number of phone calls to the service.

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