- More than 70% of opioid-naive patients in the United States and Canada filled opioid prescriptions within 7 days of undergoing 1 of 4 common low-risk surgical procedures compared with just 11% in Sweden.
- The United States also had the highest average opioid prescription dose of all 3 countries.
Why this matters
- Studies suggest that overprescribing opioids for short-term pain, such as after surgery, is widespread.
- Opioid-naive patients who underwent surgery in the United States (n=129,379), Canada (n=84,653), and Sweden (n=9802) were identified.
- Patients underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy, laparoscopic appendectomy, arthroscopic knee meniscectomy, or breast excision.
- Funding: NIH; Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
- Within 7 days of discharge, the United States and Canada reported opioid prescription filing in 76.2% and 78.6% of patients, respectively.
- Opioid prescription filing rate was significantly lower in Sweden within 7 days of discharge, at 11.1% (P<.001>
- The mean morphine milligram equivalent was highest in the United States (n=247), followed by Canada (n=169) and Sweden (n=197).
- Type of opioid use in Canada, Sweden, and the United States, respectively:
- Codeine: 39.3%, 15.7%, and 3.3%.
- Tramadol: 18.5%, 29.0%, and 3.5%.
- Combination opioid formulations: 86.2%, 15.7%, and 90.7%.
- Retrospective study.
- Information on postoperative pain experiences absent.
Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm