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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Postsurgical prescriptions for opioid naive patients and association with overdose and misuse: retrospective cohort study.

Brat GA, Agniel D, Beam A, et al. BMJ. 2018;360:j5790.

Harm from opioids is a widely recognized patient safety concern. In this retrospective cohort study, investigators examined the effect of postoperative opioid prescribing in patients who had never received opioids before. As with prior studies, they found increased subsequent misuse of opioids among patients who received larger quantities of opioid medications following surgery compared to those who received fewer opioid medications. Longer duration of postoperative opioid prescription was also associated with higher odds of future diagnosis of opioid misuse. This study adds to evidence demonstrating the potential harms associated with even short-term opioid prescription. A recent PSNet interview discussed the opioid epidemic and strategies to address this growing patient safety concern.