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Implementation of a restrictive opioid prescription protocol after minimally invasive gynecologic oncology surgery

Abstract

Objectives Opioids are routinely prescribed after minimally invasive gynecologic oncology surgery, with minimal data to inform the ideal dose. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a restrictive opioid prescription protocol on the median morphine milligram equivalents prescribed and pain control in patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery.

Methods A restrictive opioid prescription protocol was implemented from January through December 2020 at a single tertiary cancer center in Ontario, Canada. Consecutive patients undergoing minimally invasive hysterectomy for suspected malignancy were included. Simultaneously, we implemented use of multimodal analgesia, patient and provider education, pre-printed standardized prescriptions, and tracking of opioid prescriptions. Total median morphine milligram equivalents prescribed were compared between pre- and post-intervention cohorts. Patients were surveyed regarding opioid use and pain control at 30 days post-surgery.

Results A total of 101 women in the post-intervention cohort were compared with 92 consecutive pre-intervention controls. Following protocol implementation, median morphine milligram equivalents prescribed decreased from 50 (range 9–100) to 25 (range 8–75) (p<0.001). In the post-intervention cohort, 75% (76/101) used 10 median morphine milligram equivalents or less and 55 patients (54%) used 0 median morphine milligram equivalent. There was no additional increase in opioid refill requests after implementation of our strategy. Overall, patients reported a median pain score of 3/10 at 30 days post-surgery; the highest pain scores and most of the pain occurred in the first week after surgery.

Conclusions Implementation of a restrictive opioid prescription protocol led to a significant reduction in opioid use after minimally invasive gynecologic oncology surgery, with over 50% of patients requiring no opioids postoperatively.

  • Pain
  • cancer pain
  • postoperative care

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Data are deidentified participant data and all data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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