Background: Prescribed opioid medication after orthopedic sports surgery has been shown to exceed patient requirements. In 2017, as a response to the opioid epidemic, Ohio passed Opioid Prescribing Guidelines (OPG) limiting narcotic prescriptions for acute pain. This study sought to evaluate the effects of the OPG on prescribing behavior of orthopedists following knee arthroscopy (KA), shoulder arthroscopy (SA), and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). Methods: An institutional database was queried to calculate morphine equivalent dose (MED) prescribed at discharge, acute follow-up (<90 days), and chronic follow-up (>90 days) and compare MED pre- and post-OPG. Cases were identified over a 2-year period starting 1 year prior to OPG implementation. Individual surgeon data were tracked to control for inter-surgeon variability. Results: A total of 1663 patients were included in the analysis. Demographic variables were similar pre- and post-OPG for each procedure group. With all surgeons included, average discharge MED decreased significantly for all procedures from pre- to post-OPG. Surgeons qualified for individual analysis if they had at least 10 surgeries pre- and post-OPG. Of qualifying providers, 80% of KA, 25% of SA, and 0% of ACLR surgeons reduced discharge MED prescribed post-OPG. MED prescribed during follow-up was largely unaffected by implementation of the OPG. Conclusion: Average discharge morphine equivalent dose (MED) prescribed after SA, KA, and ACLR decreased following the implementation of the OPG. The MED reduction effect of the OPG was the greatest in magnitude after SA, and SA was the only surgery that showed MED reductions that persisted during acute follow up. Opioid prescriptions beyond 90 days postoperatively were unchanged by the OPG for all surgeries. Policy that restricts postoperative opioid prescriptions can be an effective, but incomplete method to address the opioid crisis.

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IRB_Approval.pdf (30 kB)
IRB Approval

OATA_Tables.docx (19 kB)
Tables in Word