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  • Ann Tucker

Research article examines opioid prescribing patterns and patient consumption following surgery

The Journal of Surgical Oncology recently published a research article examining opioid prescribing patterns and patient consumption following common surgical procedures. Patients were contacted within 6 months of a common surgical oncology procedure and asked to describe their discharge instructions and use of opioids. The median quantity of opioids prescribed was significantly larger than what was consumed following a breast biopsy (5 vs. 2 tablets of 5mg oxycodone), lumpectomy (10 vs. 2 tablets of 5 mg oxycodone), and mastectomy or wide local excision (20 tablets vs. 2 tablets of 5 mg oxycodone). While the majority of patients reported receiving education, only 27% received instructions on proper disposal. Researchers noted that 82% of prescriptions filled resulted in unused opioids, however only 11% of patients safely disposed of them.

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