Initial Opioid Prescriptions Predict Continued Narcotic Use: Analysis of 24,594 Reduction Mammaplasty Patients

David Merola, Nicholas A. Calotta, Zhen A. Lu, Scott D. Lifchez, Oluseyi Aliu, Devin Coon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to establish whether a particular perioperative opioid regimen was associated with a higher risk of opioid refilling in the reduction mammaplasty patient population. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted on subjects that underwent bilateral reduction mammaplasty with no history of opioid use in the year before surgery. Patients were followed for a period of 4 months after surgery. Multivariable logistic regression was used to establish factors associated with prescription refilling. Predictive probabilities of opioid refilling, given various perioperative opioid regimens, were explored. RESULTS: A total of 24,594 subjects met all criteria for inclusion in the study, 13 percent of whom demonstrated continued opioid use following surgery. The probability of refill in patients receiving 15 to 59 daily morphine milligram equivalents perioperatively was significantly lower than in those receiving less than 15 daily morphine milligram equivalents (e.g., 15 mg of codeine every 4 hours) or more than 60 daily morphine milligram equivalents (e.g., 10 mg of oxycodone every 6 hours). CONCLUSIONS: The probability of refilling prescription opioids is increased by nonmodifiable risk factors, such as age. However, modifiable risk factors exist as well, most notably the amount of narcotic prescribed during the perioperative period. Overprescribing was found to be common in the reduction mammaplasty patient population. Limiting outpatient opioid exposure to a range of 15 to 59 daily morphine milligram equivalents (e.g., 5 mg of hydrocodone every 6 hours) during the perisurgical period may reduce the probability that the surgeon will need to prescribe further narcotics. Further studies are needed to validate our findings. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Risk, III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-30
Number of pages11
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Volume145
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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