Project Summary: Identify Opportunities to Reduce Use of Potentially Harmful Medications During and Post Surgery

Category: Outcome/Cost Improvement, Medications

Background: In the United States, more people die from drug overdose every year than from motor vehicle accidents. While illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin have traditionally been associated with fatal drug overdoses, the number of people who die from overdosing on prescription opioids is actually far greater. The impact of perioperative painkiller regimens on post-discharge opioid prescription patterns is unknown. This proposal will lay the foundation for future clinical studies to examine the efficacy and safety of perioperative opioid use.

Objective: The overarching objective of this research is to increase patient safety by finding ways to increase the use of perioperative non-opioid painkillers and reduce opioid prescriptions post-discharge.  Define the frequency and dosage of opioid prescriptions at 30 days, 90 days and 180 days following hospital discharge after major surgery.

Data Analyzed: Claims data appropriate to help examine the relationship between perioperatively administered analgesic drugs and amount and frequency of opioid prescriptions at 30 days, 90 days, and 180 days following hospital discharge.

Results: Dr. Bartels, with University of Colorado, Denver, intends to lay the epidemiologic foundation for future clinical studies to examine the efficacy and safety of perioperative opioid use, reducing drug overdoses. Using CO APCD data, Dr. Bartels found long term (90-180 days) use of opioids post-surgery to be very common. Dr. Bartels applied for additional 5-year funding from the NIH that was recently awarded a perfect score from a national study section of experts in the field. This research is likely to kick off in July 2016 and will dive more deeply into opioid safety research to develop a model for goal-directed opioid prescribing post-surgery as opposed to a one size fits all model.

  • Type of Report: Limited dataset
  • Date Fulfilled: