New persistent opioid use after minor and major surgical procedures in US adults.
Opioid medication use represents a significant safety problem in the United States. Overprescribing by providers is one factor contributing to the widespread use of opioids. Reducing inappropriate prescribing may help improve patient safety. Using claims data for 36,177 patients, investigators sought to better characterize new and persistent opioid use after surgery, defined as filling an opioid prescription between 90 and 180 days postoperatively. Although there was no major difference in persistent opioid use between those who underwent minor surgical procedures and those who underwent major surgical procedures, results demonstrated that opioid use persisted in greater frequency after surgery among patients with behavioral, pain, and substance use disorders. A recent PSNet perspective discussed patient safety with regard to opioid medications.