Optimizing opioid prescriptions after laparoscopic appendectomy and cholecystectomy

Academic Article


  • Background: There has been an increase in opioid usage and opioid-related deaths. Opioids prescribed to surgical patients have similarly increased. The aim of this study was to assess opioid consumption in patients undergoing laparoscopic appendectomy (LA) and laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) and to determine whether a standardized prescription could affect opioid consumption without affecting patient satisfaction. Methods: Patients undergoing LA or LC were recruited prospectively during 2 time periods (April to June 2017 and November 2017 to January 2018). In the first phase, surgeons continued their usual postoperative analgesia prescribing patterns. In the second phase, a standardized prescription was implemented. Patients were contacted by telephone and a questionnaire was completed for both phases of the study. The primary outcome was the quantity of opioids prescribed and consumed. Results: In the first phase, 166 patients who underwent LC or LA were recruited. The median number of prescribed opioid tablets was 20 and the median number consumed was 2. Ninety-five percent of patients reported satisfaction with their analgesia. Based on these results, a standardized prescription for multimodal analgesia was implemented for the second phase, consisting of 10 opioid tablets. In the second phase, 129 patients who underwent LA or LC were recruited. There was a significant decrease in the median number of opioid pills filled (10) and consumed (0), with no difference in reported satisfaction with analgesia. Conclusion: Patients are prescribed an excess of opioids after LA or LC. Implementation of a standardized prescription based on a quality improvement intervention was effective at decreasing the number of opioids prescribed and consumed.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Feinberg AE; Acuna SA; Smith D; Kashin B; Mocon A; Yau B; Chiu J; Srikandarajah S
  • Start Page

  • E69
  • End Page

  • E75
  • Volume

  • 64
  • Issue

  • 1