- More than half of patients who received a 3-day course of acetaminophen and ibuprofen along with 5 days of prescription opioids after laparoscopic cholecystectomy and appendectomy did not need opioids for pain control.
- Patients who did take the prescribed opioids only took an average of 1.8 pills after discharge.
Why this matters
- 6% of surgical patients continue to use opioids 6 months after surgery, but there are no established evidenced-based guidelines for nonopioid pain control in postoperative outpatients.
- 65 patients who underwent uncomplicated laparoscopic cholecystectomy or appendectomy received a 3-day regimen of ibuprofen and acetaminophen at the time of discharge.
- An additional opioid prescription was given for breakthrough pain (5 pills of 5 mg oxycodone).
- Primary endpoint: pain control at home.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- The visual analogue scale pain score at home significantly improved vs at the time of discharge (3.7 vs 5.5; P=.001).
- Patients took an average of 1.8 oxycodone pills after discharge.
- 51% of the patients did not take oxycodone pills.
- 4 patients reported pain not being adequately controlled at home.
- No patient returned to the emergency department or required additional opioid prescriptions.
- Observational design.
Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD