Pilot Program Returns Encouraging Results with New Opioid-Sparing Treatment Protocol
A 2-year study conducted by a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists and surgeons from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has concluded that opioids are seldom required for post-surgical pain management. The study followed 1,231 patients who underwent gynecologic or abdominal surgery and then received a new ultra restrictive opioid prescription protocol (UROPP) for management of their post-surgical pain. Under UROPP, patients received an average of 12 opioid tablets after major surgery, 1 following minimally invasive surgery, and none after outpatient or ambulatory surgery. This compares with standard protocol at US cancer centers for 44, 38, and 14 tablets following the respective procedures. Researchers reported that pain scores, postoperative complications and patient requests for additional opioids were not impaired by the new opioid-sparing protocol, that reduced by over 16,000 pills the amount of opioid medications in circulation.
The success of the pilot program has led to the decision to implement UROPP for post-surgical pain management for all surgical services at Roswell Park center beginning 1-1-2019. Senior author Emese Zsiros, MD, PhD, FACOG, commented “Physicians are often concerned that reducing or eliminating opioid prescriptions will be very challenging, especially for patients who are accustomed to managing pain with opioids. “However, our study clearly shows that patients can recover from major surgery just as well with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen and minimal or no opioids, with no increase in pain or postoperative complications—and without the side effects of opioids…” The findings were published last week in JAMA Open Network.
Read about the study.
The journal abstract may be read here.
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