Opioids Often Over-Prescribed After Hiatal Hernia Surgery

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Only 21% and 6% of patients undergoing open and laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair, respectively, reported receiving education relating to proper opioid disposal.
Only 21% and 6% of patients undergoing open and laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair, respectively, reported receiving education relating to proper opioid disposal.

HealthDay News — Patients use fewer opioids than are prescribed after hiatal hernia repair (HHR), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, held from April 28 to May 1 in San Diego.

Alyssa A. Mazurek, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of 91 opioid-naive patients who underwent open or laparoscopic HHR between January and December 2016. Participants received any opioid prescriptions after surgery and were surveyed regarding postoperative opioid use and associated education (response rate, 69 percent).

The researchers found that the median prescription size was 350 mg oral morphine equivalents (OME) and median patient use was 225 mg OME following open HHR. Median prescription size was 270 mg OME and median patient use 106 mg OME after laparoscopic HHR. Only 21 and 6 percent of patients undergoing open and laparoscopic HHR, respectively, reported receiving education relating to proper opioid disposal. Ninety-six percent of opioid prescriptions in both groups were written by physician assistants.

"Given the growing awareness of this epidemic and the willingness of surgeons around the country to address it means we can also play a huge role in reducing excessive opioid prescribing and the number of unused pills that permeate into the community by further understanding prescribing practices and creating procedure-specific guidelines," Mazurek said in a statement.

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