Outpatient Surgery Magazine

OR Excellence Awards - September 2018 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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How Many Pain Pills Do Patients Really Need? Match the number of opioids to the procedure to stop overprescribing. A n abdominal hysterectomy is a lot more painful procedure than a thyroidectomy, so why write for the same number of opioids for each patient? To control the hysterectomy patient's post-op pain, 35 Vicodin or 25 Percocet seems appropriate. The thyroidectomy patient will only need 10 Vicodin or 5 Percocet. We know, however, that many surgeons routinely prescribe more pain pills than patients will need, either out of habit or out of fear that they'll get more phone calls for refills or inadequate pain control if they write for fewer opioids. You can help your surgeons rethink their prescribing practices. As part of the Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (OPEN), a group working to prevent the overprescribing of opioids, I helped develop the opioid prescribing recommendations we listed for you on the opposite page. The recommendations are meant to ensure patients receive the right amount of pills to manage the pain they're likely to experience after several com- mon procedures. We'll soon add recommendations for hip and knee replacement patients (opi- oidprescribing.info). Right-sizing opioid use not only limits opioid-related post- op complications such as nau- sea and intestinal issues that can lead to readmissions, but also helps curb the opioid epi- demic. As we know, surgeons Safety Michael Englesbe, MD, FACS • ON HAND Research has shown that patients will take the number of pills they're prescribed. 2 6 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8

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