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Opioid Refills Rare After Rhinoplasty

Only 1.2 percent of patients prescribed opioids required refills within three weeks of surgery

prescription bottle

FRIDAY, Sept. 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- For patients undergoing rhinoplasty, postoperative opioid refills are extremely rare, according to a research letter published online Sept. 6 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Rosh K.V. Sethi, M.D., M.P.H., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of 173 patients who underwent rhinoplasty to examine opioid prescription data, including type of opioid, quantity, dosage, and refills within three weeks of surgery.

The researchers found that 97.1 percent of the patients were prescribed opioids in addition to acetaminophen. Per patient, a mean of 28 tablets were prescribed. Of the 168 patients prescribed an opioid, 87.5 percent received oxycodone and 7.1, 4.2, 0.6, and 0.6 percent were prescribed oxycodone-acetaminophen, hydrocodone-acetaminophen, acetaminophen-codeine, and tramadol, respectively. Narcotic prescriptions were not filled by 11.3 percent of patients. Within three weeks of surgery, refills were rare (1.2 percent); of the two patients requiring refills, one was prescribed 40 oxycodone tablets and one was prescribed five oxycodone-acetaminophen tablets.

"With the current opioid epidemic, the onus is on surgeons to critically examine postoperative pain management practices," the authors write. "The near-negligible refill rate of prescriptions in the present study, confirmed by the Massachusetts State Registry database, suggests that the optimal number of tablets may be lower than expected."

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