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A Safe Number of Perioperative Opioids to Reduce the Risk of New Persistent Usage Among Opioid-Naïve Patients Following Total Joint Arthroplasty

Published:August 17, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arth.2022.08.018

      Abstract

      Background

      Higher initial opioid dosing increases the risk of prolonged opioid use following total joint arthroplasty (TJA), and the safe amounts to prescribe are unknown. We examined the relationship between perioperative opioid exposure and new persistent usage among opioid-naïve patients after total knee and hip arthroplasty.

      Methods

      In this retrospective cohort study, 22,310 opioid-naïve patients undergoing primary TJA between 2018 and 2019 were identified within a commercial claims database. Perioperative opioid exposure was defined as total dose of opioid prescription in morphine milligram equivalents (MME) between 1 month prior to and 2 weeks after TJA. New persistent usage was defined as at least one opioid prescription between 90 and 180 days postoperatively. Multivariate regression analyses were performed to examine the relationship between the perioperative dosage group and the development of new persistent usage.

      Results

      For the total patient cohort, 8.1% developed new persistent usage. Compared to patients who received <300 MME, patients who received 600-900 MME perioperatively had a 77% increased risk of developing new persistent usage (odds ratio 1.77, 95% CI, 1.44-2.17), and patients who received ≥1,200 MME perioperatively had a 285% increased risk (odds ratio 3.85, 95% CI, 3.13-4.74).

      Conclusion

      We found a dose-dependent association between perioperative MME and the risk of developing new persistent usage among opioid-naïve patients following TJA. We recommend prescribing <600 MME (equivalent to 80 pills of 5 mg oxycodone) during the perioperative period to reduce the risk of new persistent usage.

      Level of evidence

      Level III.

      Keywords

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