Impact of Substance Use and Abuse on Opioid Demand in Lower Extremity Fracture Surgery.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVES: To describe the perioperative opioid demand in a large population of patients undergoing lower extremity fracture fixation and to evaluate mental disorders such as substance abuse as risk factors for increased use. DESIGN: Retrospective, observational. SETTING: National insurance claims database. PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-three four hundred forty-one patients grouped by mental disorders such as depression, psychoses, alcohol abuse, tobacco abuse, drug abuse, and preoperative opioid filling undergoing operative treatment of lower extremity fractures (femoral shaft through ankle) between 2007 and 2017. INTERVENTION: Operative treatment of lower extremity fractures. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was filled opioid prescription volume converted to oxycodone 5-mg pill equivalents. Secondary outcomes included the number of filled prescriptions and the risk of obtaining 2 or more opioid prescriptions. RESULTS: Of 23,441 patients, 16,618 (70.9%), 8862 (37.8%), and 18,084 (77.1%) filled opioid prescriptions within 1-month preop to 90-day postop, 3-month postop to 1-year postop, and 1-month preop to 1-year postop, respectively. On average, patients filled 104, 69, and 173 oxycodone 5-mg pills at those time intervals. Alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse, and preoperative opioid filling were associated with increased perioperative opioid demand. Psychoses had a small effect on opioid demand, and depression had no significant impact. CONCLUSIONS: This study reports the rate and volume of opioid prescription filling in patients undergoing lower extremity fracture surgery. Substance use and abuse were the main risk factors for increased perioperative opioid prescription filling. Providers should recognize these risk factors for increased use and be judicious when prescribing opioids. Enhanced patient education, increased nonopioid pain management strategies, and referral for substance use and abuse treatment may be helpful for these patients. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cunningham, DJ; LaRose, MA; Gage, MJ

Published Date

  • May 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 5

Start / End Page

  • e171 - e176

PubMed ID

  • 32890073

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1531-2291

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/BOT.0000000000001958


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States