Identify Opportunities to Reduce Use of Potentially Harmful Medications During and Post Surgery

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February 2015

Contact: Center for Improving Value in Health Care

Background: Currently in the United States, more people die from drug overdose every year than from motor vehicle accidents. While illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin have traditionally been associated with fatal drug overdoses, the number of people who die from overdosing on prescription opioids is actually far greater. The impact of perioperative pharmacologic analgesic regimens on opioid prescription patterns following discharge is unknown. This proposal will lay the epidemiologic foundation for future clinical studies to examine the efficacy and safety of perioperative opioid use. The overarching objective of this line of research is to increase patient safety by finding avenues to optimize non-opioid based analgesia and to reduce the need for opioid analgesia for surgical patients following hospital discharge.

Goal: Define the incidence and dose of opioid prescriptions at 30 days, 90 days and 180 days following hospital discharge after major surgery. The incidence of previously opioid naïve patients, who continue to take opioids for prolonged periods of time after major elective surgery is unknown. This research entity will define patterns of opioid analgesia and prolonged opioid use in a large cohort study of patients that underwent major inpatient surgery at a specific facility.

Data Analyzed: Claims data appropriate to help examine the relationship between perioperatively administered analgesic drugs and amount and frequency of opioid prescriptions at 30 days, 90 days, and 180 days following hospital discharge.

Results: In progress

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