Home >  News >  April, 2017

Certain Disorders May Increase Risk of Prolonged Opioid Use

A new study suggests prolonged post-operative opioid use may be due to factors other than surgical pain.

Published: April 12, 2017

PREDICTIVE Patients with some behavioral and pain disorders may be vulnerable to persistent post-operative opioid use.

Do patients who continue to use opioids use after surgery do so to control post-operative pain — or because a pre-existing behavioral or pain disorder makes them vulnerable to opioid use? A new JAMA Surgery study suggests it could be the latter.

New, persistent opioid use after surgery may be associated less with surgical pain than with other addressable, patient-level predictors, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor. Risk factors include behavioral disorders such as pre-operative tobacco use, alcohol and substance abuse disorders, mood disorders and anxiety, as well as pre-operative pain disorders.

The researchers calculated the incidence of persistent opioid use among patients who had not used opioids previously. Among the more than 36,100 adult patients included in the study — the patients were predominately female (66%) and white (72%), with an average age of 45 — about 6% continued to use opioids more than 3 months after their surgery.

More than 29,000 (80%) received minor surgical procedures, and more than 7,100 (20%) received major procedures. The rates of new persistent opioid use were similar between the 2 groups, ranging from 5.9% to 6.5%. (By comparison, the incidence in the non-operative control group was only 0.4%.) Because the rates did not differ significantly between major and minor procedures, the data suggest prolonged post-operative opioid use may be due to factors other than surgical pain.

"This suggests its use is not due to surgical pain but addressable patient-level predictors," the authors write. "New, persistent opioid use represents a common but previously underappreciated surgical complication that warrants increased awareness."

Bill Donahue


Also in the News...

Study: C. Diff Transmission "Might Be More Likely to Occur" in Surgical Centers
Chicago Hospital Sues Leapfrog for Defamation Over Low Patient Safety Grade
Recall: Midazolam Syringes in Blister Packs Contain Syringes of Ondansetron
Study: Overlapping Surgeries Are Safe for Patients
Coughing Fit During Cataract Surgery Costs Patient Her Vision in 1 Eye; Docs Shell Out $1.35M
Mölnlycke Sues Smith & Nephew Over 'False and Deceptive' Claims About Its Wound Dressings
Lawsuit Over Left-Behind Ligating Clip Can Proceed

New to Outpatient Surgery Magazine?
Sign-up to continue reading this article.
Register Now
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

Hospital Fined $86K for Retained Object Can't Figure How It Got There

The left-behind towel was never intended for internal use.

Tech Says Surgeon's Physical Bullying During Procedure Was Racially Motivated

He's suing the hospital that he says looked the other way.

Anesthesiologist Accused of Failing to Respond While Woman, 29, Slipped Away

Wrongful death suit also questions how well equipped freestanding surgical centers are to handle emergencies.