Opioid Education Study Proves Knowledge is Power

Researchers assessed the relationship between preoperative opioid use education and consumption by surgical patients. Their findings were published in JAMA. Read the summary.

In this study, researchers tested whether reducing the number of opioid tablets prescribed would decrease postoperative opioid consumption and whether preoperative opioid use education would further reduce the amount taken by surgical patients.

Education was associated with a lower duration and quantity of postoperative opioid use.

After analyzing the data, the researchers conducting the study found that:

  • Prescribing fewer tablets was associated with lower postoperative opioid consumption. 
  • Education was associated with a lower duration and quantity of postoperative opioid use. 
  • Patients receiving 50 tablets took opioids for a significantly greater number of postoperative days compared with those receiving 30 tablets and no education (5.8 vs 4.5 days; difference, 1.2 [95% CI, 0.09-2.4] days)
  • Patients receiving education took opioids for significantly fewer postoperative days (4.5 vs 3.5 days; difference, 1.0 [95% CI, 0.2-1.9] days

This study was limited to a single procedure at a single site. The patient cohort was young, and patients were not randomized, therefore further studies should be done to evaluate whether similar opioid stewardship and education protocols would be successful in other patient populations.

Access the full study: Association Between Quantity of Opioids Prescribed After Surgery or Preoperative Opioid Use Education With Opioid Consumption

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