Effect of CURES Legislation on Narcotic Prescriptions After Soft-tissue Hand Surgery


California’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) was mandated in 2018 to monitor and limit opiate prescriptions. This study evaluated the effects of this legislation on postoperative opioid prescriptions of patients undergoing soft tissue hand surgery. Patients receiving carpal tunnel release, trigger finger release, and ganglion excisions 18 months prior to and 18 months after CURES were selected. The primary outcome was milligram morphine equivalent (MME) prescribed at the surgical encounter and at first postoperative visit. There were 758 patients in the pre-CURES cohort and 701 patients in the post-CURES cohort. In the pre-CURES cohort, there was 116.9 ± 123.8 MME prescribed post op and 10.2 ± 70.8 at first follow-up, whereas post-CURES had 58.8 ± 68.4 MME and 1.1 ± 14.1 for post-op and first follow-up respectively. Findings of this study indicate state regulations may play a role in reducing narcotic consumption following soft tissue hand surgery. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 33(2):122-124, 2024)

Key words: hand surgery, CURES, opioid legislation, opioid control, orthopedic surgery, California

Conor Spady, MD; Damien Cannon, MD; Montri Daniel Wongworawat, MD; David E Ruckle, MD; Rusheel Nayak, MD; and Brittany McPhee, BSc