Post-Op Doc Shopping Ups Narcotic Use in Ortho Patients

Orthopedic trauma patients with multiple providers are at higher risk of prescription narcotic abuse

Post-Op Doc Shopping Ups Narcotic Use in Ortho Patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Orthopedic trauma patients who seek multiple narcotic providers postoperatively are at greater risk of prescription drug abuse, according to research published in the Aug. 6 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Brent J. Morris, M.D., of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues analyzed data for 130 patients in a prospective cohort of orthopedic trauma patients. The authors sought to examine the effects of multiple postoperative narcotic providers on patterns of use of narcotics.

The researchers found that 20.8 percent of patients sought multiple narcotic providers postoperatively. Patients with multiple narcotic providers, compared with a single narcotic provider, had a greater number of postoperative narcotic prescriptions (seven versus two prescriptions; P < 0.001), longer duration of narcotic use (110 versus 28 days; P < 0.001), and greater morphine equivalent dose per day (43 versus 26 mg; P = 0.002). Risk factors for seeking multiple narcotic providers included history of preoperative narcotic use (relative risk, 4.5; P < 0.001) and high school education or less (relative risk, 3.2; P = 0.02).

"Orthopedic surgeons must prescribe narcotic medications in the postoperative period with great care and vigilance to minimize the risk of abuse, dependence, and narcotic-related adverse events in their patients," the authors write.

One or more of the authors disclosed financial ties to biomedical companies.

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