Comparison of prescribing patterns before and after implementation of evidence-based opioid prescribing guidelines for the postoperative urologic surgery patient

Matthew Ziegelmann, Jason Joseph, Amy Glasgow, Mark Tyson, Raymond Pak, Halena Gazelka, Bradley Leibovich, Elizabeth Habermann, Matthew Gettman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: We developed evidence-based guidelines for postoperative opioid prescribing after urologic surgery and assessed changes in prescribing after implementation. Methods: Prescribing data for adults who underwent 21 urologic procedures were used to derive a four-tiered guideline for postoperative opioid prescribing. This was implemented on January 1, 2018, and prescribing patterns including quantity of opioids prescribed (oral morphine equivalents; OME) and refill rates were compared between patients undergoing surgery prior to (January–April, 2017; n equals 1732) and after (January–April, 2018; n equals1376) implementation. Results: The median OME (IQR) prescribed was significantly lower for 2018 compared with 2017 [100 (0; 175) versus 150 (60; 225); p < .0001]. The median prescribed OME decreased in 14/21 procedures (67%). The refill rates did not significantly change. Guideline adherence rates after implementation, based on individual procedures, ranged from 33 to 95%. Conclusions: Fewer opioids were prescribed after implementing a prescribing guideline. Additional study is required to assess patient opioid utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • Epidemic
  • Guidelines
  • Opioids
  • Pain
  • Postoperative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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