• Pain · May 2022

    Randomized Controlled Trial

    A shared decision-making approach to taper postoperative opioids in spine surgery patients with preoperative opioid use: a randomized controlled trial.

    • Peter Uhrbrand, Mikkel Mylius Rasmussen, Simon Haroutounian, and Lone Nikolajsen.
    • Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.
    • Pain. 2022 May 1; 163 (5): e634-e641.

    AbstractPersistent opioid use is common after surgery, and patients with preoperative opioid use represent a major challenge in this regard. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to determine the effect of a personalized opioid tapering plan vs standard of care in patients with a preoperative opioid use undergoing spine surgery at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. Postoperative outcomes included opioid use, pain, contacts with the healthcare system, patient satisfaction, and withdrawal symptoms. Overall, 110 patients were randomized; 55 into the intervention and control groups each. Five patients (proportion = 0.09, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.04-0.21]) in the intervention group compared with 13 patients (0.25, 95% CI [0.15-0.39]) in the control group were unable to taper opioids to their preoperative consumption 1 month after discharge (P = 0.03) (primary outcome). Likewise, more patients in the intervention group succeeded in tapering opioids to zero 3 months after discharge (37 patients; 0.71, 95% CI [0.57-0.82] vs 23 patients; 0.43, 95% CI [0.30-0.56], P = 0.003). Fewer patients in the intervention group had pain-related contacts to health care the first 2 weeks after discharge (21 patients; 0.40, 95% CI [0.28-0.54] vs 31 patients; 0.60, 95% CI [0.46-0.73], P = 0.04). There was no difference in satisfaction with pain treatment over the first 2 weeks or the incidence of withdrawal symptoms during the first month after discharge. Pain intensity was similar between both groups at all time points. These results suggest that a personalized tapering plan at discharge combined with telephone counselling 1 week after discharge assists patients in postoperative opioid tapering.Copyright © 2021 International Association for the Study of Pain.

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