HealthDay News — Many patients undergoing elective same-day or inpatient joint and spine surgery have unused opioids at one- and six-month follow-up, according to a study published online April 17 in Anesthesia & Analgesia.
Mark C. Bicket, MD, from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study involving individuals aged ≥18 years undergoing elective same-day or inpatient joint and spine surgery. Patient-reported outcomes were assessed at 2-day, 2-week, one-month, and 6-month intervals. Data were included for 140 patients; one- and 6-month follow-up data were available for 82 and 80%, respectively.
The researchers found that at one- and 6-month follow-up, possession of unused opioids was reported by 73 and 34% of patients who stopped opioid therapy, respectively. At one month, 46 and 37% of participants had ≥20 pills and ≥200 morphine milligram equivalents, respectively; only 6% reported using multiple nonopioid adjuncts. At follow-up, many patients reported unsafe storage and failure to dispose of opioids (91 and 96%, respectively, at one month; 92 and 47%, respectively, at 6 months).
“After joint and spine surgery, many patients reported unused opioids, infrequent use of analgesic alternatives, and lack of knowledge regarding safe opioid storage and disposal,” the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.