Preoperative Opioid Informed Consent and Prescribing Practices in Children Undergoing Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery

Preoperative Opioid Informed Consent and Prescribing Practices in Children Undergoing Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery
Brendan A. Williams, Lacey C. Magee, Christopher A. Makarewich, Ishaan Swarup, Lia W. McNeely, Apurva S. Shah
Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 24 January 2022; 6(1)
Open Access
This study sought to examine prescribing practices for pediatric patients undergoing orthopaedic trauma surgery and assess the effect of state-mandated preoperative informed consent for opioids.
A retrospective single-institution cohort study was done between 2016 and 2018 for surgically managed isolated orthopaedic trauma with cohorting based on the presence of preoperative opioid consent. Analyses examined cohort demographic and procedural factors associated with the number of opioid doses prescribed.
A total of 1,793 patients met the study criteria. The proportion of patients prescribed opioids (P = 0.0378) and the number of doses (P < 0.001) were lower in consented patients. Differences were greater among those receiving solution (versus tablets). No cohort differences were observed in refill needs. Nonopioid medications prescribing increased. Multivariate analysis identified multiple factors, including preoperative opioid consent (P = 0.013) associated with fewer prescribed opioid doses.
After the implementation of preoperative opioid consenting, patients were prescribed fewer opioid doses after pediatric orthopaedic trauma surgery. The increased utilization of nonopioid therapies was also evident. These changes occurred despite a shorter length of hospital stay and without changes in the studied proxies of postoperative pain control. An increased awareness of opioid risks through formal consent discussion may help to facilitate reduced reliance on opioids for children in the postoperative period.

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