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The Persistence of opioid use following surgical admission: an Australian single-site retrospective cohort study


Veal, F and Thompson, A and Halliday, S and Boyles, P and Orlikowski, C and Bereznicki, L, The Persistence of opioid use following surgical admission: an Australian single-site retrospective cohort study, Journal of Pain Research, 13 pp. 703-708. ISSN 1178-7090 (2020) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Veal et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0)

DOI: doi:10.2147/JPR.S235764


Background: Acute pain is common following surgery, with opioids frequently employed in its management. Studies indicate that commencing an opioid during a hospital admission increases the likelihood of long-term use. This study aimed to identify the prevalence of opioid persistence amongst opioid-na´ve patients following surgery as well as the indication for use.

Methods: A retrospective review of patients who underwent a surgical procedure at the Royal Hobart Hospital, Tasmania, Australia, between August and September 2016 was undertaken. Patients were linked to the Tasmanian real-time prescription monitoring database to ascertain if they were subsequently dispensed a Schedule 8 opioid (morphine, codeine oxycodone, buprenorphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl, methadone, or tapentadol) and the indication for use.

Results: Of the 3275 hospital admissions, 1015 opioid-na´ve patients were eligible for inclusion. Schedule 8 opioids were dispensed at or within 2 days of discharge in 41.7% of admissions. Thirty-nine (3.9%) patients received prescribed opioids 2-months post-discharge; 1.8% of the patients were approved by State Health to be prescribed Schedule 8 opioids regularly for a chronic condition at 6 months, and 1.3% received infrequent or one-off prescriptions for Schedule 8 opioids at 6 months. Thirteen (1.3%) patients continued Schedule 8 opioids for at least 6 months following their surgery, with the indication for treatment either related to the surgery or the condition which surgery was sought for.

Conclusion: This study found that there was a low rate of Schedule 8 opioid persistence following surgery, indicating post-surgical pain is not a significant driver for persistent opioid use.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:opioids, post-operative, persistence, prescribing
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences
Research Field:Clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Veal, F (Dr Felicity Veal)
UTAS Author:Thompson, A (Mr Angus Thompson)
UTAS Author:Bereznicki, L (Professor Luke Bereznicki)
ID Code:138391
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Pharmacy
Deposited On:2020-04-06
Last Modified:2021-02-11
Downloads:8 View Download Statistics

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