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Opioid prescriptions following otologic surgery: a population-based study

Kirubalingam K, Nguyen P, Klar G, Dion JM, Campbell RJ, Beyea JA. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021; Sep 28 [Epub ahead of print]. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/01945998211045364


Objective — To examine postoperative opioid-prescribing patterns following otologic surgery.

Study Design — Retrospective population-based descriptive study.

Setting — All hospitals in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Methods — Of all patients with advanced ear surgery between July 1, 2012, and March 31, 2019, 7 cohorts were constructed: tympanoplasty with or without ossiculoplasty (n = 7812), atticotomy/limited mastoidectomy (n = 1371), mastoidectomy (n = 3717), semicircular canal occlusion (SCO; n = 179), stapedectomy (n = 2735), bone-implanted hearing aid insertion (n = 280), and cochlear implant (n = 2169). Prescriptions filled for narcotics postoperatively were calculated per morphine milligram equivalent (MME) opioid dose. Multivariable regression was used to determine predictors of higher opioid doses.

Results — The mean ± SD MMEs prescribed were as follows: tympanoplasty with or without ossiculoplasty, 246.77 ± 1380.78; atticotomy/limited mastoidectomy, 283.32 ± 956.10; mastoidectomy, 280.56 ± 1018.50; SCO, 328.61 ± 1090.86; stapedectomy, 164.64 ± 657.18; bone-implanted hearing aid insertion, 326.11 ± 1054.66; and cochlear implant, 200.87 ± 639.93. SCO (odds ratio [OR], 1.69 [95% CI, 1.16-2.48]) and mastoidectomy (OR, 1.50 [95% CI, 1.36-1.66]) were associated with higher opioid doses than tympanoplasty-ossiculoplasty. Asthma (OR, 1.24 [95% CI, 1.12-1.38]), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OR, 1.29 [95% CI, 1.12-1.47]), myocardial infarction (OR, 1.33 [95% CI, 1.05-1.68]), diabetes (OR, 1.22 [95% CI, 1.08-1.39]), and substance-related and addictive disorders (OR, 2.59 [95% CI, 1.67-4.00]) were associated with higher opioid doses prescribed. Overall MME prescribed by year demonstrates a sharp drop from 2017-2018 to 2018-2019.

Conclusion — This large comprehensive population study provides insight into the prescribing patterns following otologic surgery. The large amounts prescribed and substantial variation require further study to determine barriers that limit good opioid-prescribing stewardship in the postoperative period.

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