Opioid Prescriptions Differ Between Surgeons and Advanced Practice Clinicians

PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Using a national database, we analyzed perioperative (discharge) opioid prescriptions and refills written after several common surgical procedures. Advanced practice clinicians provided 19% of perioperative opioid prescriptions and 25% of opioid refills. Compared with surgeons, advanced practice clinicians provided larger perioperative opioid prescriptions – a difference equivalent to about 8 pills of 5 mg hydrocodone.

These findings highlight the crucial role of advanced practice clinicians in the care of surgical patients and demonstrate the need for developing opioid stewardship initiatives for advanced practice clinicians as they continue to become a larger part of surgical care teams.

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We found that the proportion of perioperative opioid prescriptions and refills written by advanced practice clinicians varied by surgical specialty. The difference in opioid prescription sizes between surgeons and advanced practice clinicians also varied by surgical specialty. Future studies should seek to explore the drivers of these specialty-specific differences to provide targeted interventions to reduce excessive prescribing.

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Citation:

Priest CR, Waljee JF, Bicket MC, Hu H, Chua K. Comparison of Opioids Prescribed by Advanced Practice Clinicians vs Surgeons After Surgical Procedures in the US. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(1):e2249378. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.49378

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