TJR patients using fewer opioids to manage pain — 4 study insights

The American Society of Anesthesiologists conducted a study examining hip and knee replacement patients' opioid use and found prescriptions have decreased by 33 percent between 2006 and 2014.

Researchers conducted a study of 1 million-plus hip and knee replacement patients to gauge the progress made towards implementing multimodal pain management strategies. They used Premiere Perspective, a national database containing joint replacement surgery information from 546 hospitals, to examine 377,657 hip replacement and 779,338 knee replacement patients.

Here's what they found:

1. Approximately 25 percent of hip or knee replacement patients were prescribed opioids in 2006. By 2014, that number fell to 8.33 percent.

2. Among hip replacement patients, 27 percent received opioids in 2006, while only 10 percent received them in 2014.

3. Among knee replacement patients, 23 percent received opioids in 2006, while 7 percent received them in 2014.

4. Researchers found small and medium-sized hospitals were more likely to use multimodal therapy than their larger counterparts.

New York City-based Hospital for Special Surgery Director of Critical Care Services and senior study author Stavros Memtsoudis, MD, PhD, said in a release, "While we tend to think of large, academic hospitals as implementing changes more effectively, smaller hospitals — especially specialty institutions performing a lot of orthopedic surgeries — may be more open to evidence-based changes in practice to stay competitive."

The study will be presented at Anesthesiology 2017, Oct. 21 to Oct. 25 in Boston.

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