This interrupted time series analysis found significant changes in multiple dimensions of pain medication usage after the implementation of postoperative opioid prescription guidelines in a single hospital.
Most opioid drugs prescribed by surgeons to treat acute pain following surgery remain unused, which results in excess medication in the community available for diversion. Diversion of leftover opioid medication is a major component of the current opioid epidemic. Identifying strategies to curb overprescribing could mitigate this risk. We evaluated the effect of evidence-based postoperative prescribing guidelines in an effort to reduce this excess.