Study Shows Knee Replacement Patients Don’t Use All Prescribed Opioids
For Immediate Release
November 10, 2019
Dallas, November 10, 2019 – A presentation at the 2019 AAHKS Annual Meeting discussed a study conducted to see if orthopaedic surgeons were overprescribing opioids for pain control after surgery. Considering the opioid crisis in the U.S., researchers sought to determine the quantity of opioids used by total knee arthroplasty (TKA) patients after they were discharged from the hospital.
A group of primary unilateral TKA patients were enrolled into a single institution for the study. “Detailed pain journals tracked all prescription and over-the-counter pain medication, quantity, frequency, and visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores,” according to the presenting author, Travis S. Scudday, MD, and co-authors Robert P. Runner, MD, Andrew N. Luu, MD, Nader A. Nassif, MD, Zachary P. Thielen, MD, Jay J. Patel, MD, Steven L. Barnett, MD, and Robert S. Gorab, MD.
Data was collected from 89 patients. The average VAS score while taking narcotics was 6.92. The average length of taking narcotics was 16.81 days after surgery. The average amount of remaining pills patients had was 53.1 pills. Most of the patients in the study required opioids after surgery; however, there was a considerable difference in the number of pills prescribed and the number remaining.
The study concluded that “significantly more narcotics were prescribed than were taken in postoperative period following TKA. Adjusting prescribing patterns to match patient narcotic usage could reduce the excess narcotic pills following TKA.”
This study, along with four other studies was presented during “The Opioid Crisis” session at the 2019 AAHKS Annual Meeting:
- Education Increases Disposal of Unused Opioids After Total Joint Arthroplasty: A Cluster Randomized Trial
- Is Preoperative Tramadol a Safe Alternative to Opioids in Total Knee Arthroplasty?
- The Effects of Opioid Use on Thromboembolic Complications, Readmission Rates and 90-Day Episode of Care Costs
- Use of Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol Products in the Perioperative Period Around Primary Unilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty and the Impact on Opioid Consumption
About the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS)
Established in 1991, the mission of AAHKS is to advance hip and knee patient care through education, advocacy and research. AAHKS has a membership of over 4,000 surgeons and other hip and knee health care professionals.
Denise Smith Rodd