Objectives: To report the impact of implementing standardized guidelines for opioid prescriptions after gynecologic surgery and describe patient perspectives before and after implementation for those undergoing laparotomy for ovarian cancer. Methods: Patients undergoing gynecologic surgery between October 2017 and May 2018 were prescribed opioids at discharge using tiered guidelines; prescriptions were compared to consecutive historical controls (March 2017–October 2017). A subset of ovarian cancer laparotomy patients were surveyed regarding postoperative opioid consumption and patient experience. Results: A total of 620 women in the tiered guideline cohort were compared with 599 historical controls. Following implementation, 95.8% of prescriptions met guidelines. Median milligram morphine equivalents (MME) prescribed decreased from 150 to 75 (p ≤ 0.001) with no change in opioid refills (7.7 vs 6.9%, p = 0.62). In surveyed ovarian cancer patients, 100% of tiered guideline patients and 92% of historical controls felt satisfied with pain control (p = 0.24), despite a 50% reduction in prescribed MME and 14.6% receiving no opioids at discharge (p = 0.002). The median (IQR) MME consumed after discharge was 15 (0, 75) in tiered guideline patients vs. 24 (0, 135) in historical controls, and 38.2% and 42.4% consumed no opioids, respectively. Mean time between surgery and opioid use cessation was <1 week in both groups; patients' perceptions of opioid prescription appropriateness did not change (p = 0.49). More than 75% of patients kept their remaining opioids rather than dispose of them. Conclusions: Reducing prescribed opioids after gynecologic surgery using tiered guidelines did not increase opioid refills or worsen patients' perceptions of postoperative pain. Even after laparotomy, very little opioids were required over a short duration after dismissal. Infrequent disposal of leftover opioids highlights the need to avoid over-prescribing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology