Opioid Prescriptions After Total Joint Arthroplasty


Prescription opioids are commonly prescribed for pain relief after total joint arthroplasty (TJA), yet little is known about the quantity of opioids prescribed after surgery. This study retrospectively reviewed a consecutive series of 1000 TJAs from April 2014 through September 2015. Postoperative opioid prescriptions were quantified using standardized morphine milligram equivalents (MME). Eighty-four percent of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and 77% of total hip arthroplasty (THA) patients were opioid naïve. The median opioid volume of the first prescription for those undergoing TKA was greater than for those undergoing THA (600 vs. 450 MME), as was the proportion of individuals requiring one or more refills (48% vs. 32%). The total volume of opioids after TKA was also higher than for total hip replacement (870 vs. 525 MME). Patients who were not opioid naïve were prescribed substantially more opioids than their counterparts after TKA (mean 1593 vs. 1064 MME, p < .001) and THA (mean 1031 vs. 663 MME, p < .001). Decreasing opioid use before surgery may decrease total volume of opioid prescriptions after TJA. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 27(3):231–236, 2018)
Key words: opioids, total hip arthroplasty, total knee arthroplasty

SKU: JSOA-2018-27-3-F9 Categories: , Tags: , ,

Udai S. Sibia, MD, MBA; Abigail E. Mandelblatt; G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS; Paul J. King, MD; and James H. MacDonald, MD