HealthDay News — For children undergoing tonsillectomy, having perioperative opioid fills is not associated with return visits for pain or dehydration, according to a study published online Aug. 8 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Kao-Ping Chua, MD, PhD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a cohort analysis involving 22,567 opioid-naive children aged 1 to 18 years with a claims code for tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy; the final sample included 15,793 children.

The researchers found that 59.6% of children had 1 or more perioperative fills and the median duration was 8 days. Across US census divisions, there was variation noted in the probability of having 1 or more perioperative fills and in the duration of prescription. Compared with children not using opioids, having 1 or more perioperative fills was not associated with return visits for pain or dehydration (adjusted odds ratio, 1.13; 95% confidence interval, 0.95 to 1.34) or secondary hemorrhage (adjusted odds ratio, 0.90; 95% confidence interval, 0.73 to 1.10); there was a correlation seen with increased risk of return visits for constipation (adjusted odds ratio, 2.02; 95% confidence interval, 1.24 to 3.28).

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“To minimize the risks of opioids to children and their families, clinicians should rely on nonopioids when possible,” Chua said in a statement. “When opioids are used, clinicians should aim to prescribe only the amount that patients need.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and reported having a patent for peripheral perineural dexmedetomidine.

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