Decreasing opioid use in postoperative gynecologic oncology patients through a restrictive opioid prescribing algorithm

Academic Article


  • Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of a post-surgical restrictive opioid prescribing algorithm (ROPA) in gynecologic oncology patients. Methods: This cohort study included gynecologic oncology patients undergoing any surgical procedure from 08/2018–7/2019 after implementation of a ROPA. Patients were compared to historical controls managed without a ROPA from 10/2016–9/2017. Patients were educated preoperatively about pain management goals, the ROPA, and opioid disposal. A 4-tiered system was developed to standardize prescriptions at discharge based on surgical complexity and inpatient opioid requirements. Patients were surveyed at their postoperative visit to assess home opioid use and satisfaction. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS Statistics v.24. Results: 2549 patients met inclusion criteria; 1321 in the historical control group and 1228 in the ROPA group. Demographics, including age, BMI, and performance status were similar. Compared with the control group, the average number of opioid pills prescribed was significantly lower in the ROPA group (30.5 vs 11.3; p < 0.001) along with the morphine milligram equivalents (MME) (152.5 MME vs. 83.3 MME; p < 0.001). The percentage of patients requiring opioid refill within 30 days was similar (13.0% vs. 12.6%; p = 0.71). 95.7% of patients surveyed were satisfied with their pain regimen. The total number of pills prescribed annually decreased from 34,130 in the control group to 13,888 in the ROPA group. Conclusions: A restrictive prescribing practice allows for a significantly lower number of opioids to be prescribed to postoperative patients while maintaining patient satisfaction. There was no increase in opioid refill requests using a ROPA in patients undergoing surgery.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Boitano TKL; Sanders LJ; Gentry ZL; Smith HJ; Leath CA; Xhaja A; Leal L; Todd A; Straughn JM
  • Start Page

  • 773
  • End Page

  • 777
  • Volume

  • 159
  • Issue

  • 3