- Requiring written parental consent for opioid prescriptions led to a significant decrease in the use of opioids in pediatric patients undergoing adenotonsillectomy without an increase in postoperative complications or complaints.
Why this matters
- Studies suggest that patients aged 13-21 years who undergo common pediatric procedures are at increased risk of persistent opioid use 6 months after surgery.
- The study examines the effect of a recently passed Pennsylvania law that requires parent or guardian consent for opioid use in minors, limits opioid prescriptions to 7 days, and requires physicians to document justification for medication necessity.
- 300 patients (age, ≤18 years) who underwent adenotonsillectomy 6 months before/after mandated opioid consent forms implementation were evaluated.
- Funding: None.
- Opioid prescription provided for 211 patients, 112 preconsent and 99 postconsent.
- Mean of total opioid prescribed (milligrams/kilogram) was significantly higher preconsent vs postconsent (4.8±5.6 vs 3.2±4.7; P=.003).
- Similar decrease observed in total number of days prescribed between preconsent vs postconsent groups (5.5±4.9 vs 4.4±3.6; P=.025).
- No difference observed between groups for:
- nursing telephone calls (P=.134);
- follow-up appointments (P=.732);
- emergency department visits (P=.083); or
- surgical intervention for postoperative bleeding concern (P=.994).
- Amount of oxycodone that child consumed not examined.
Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD