The recent controversy on prescription opioids has highlighted overprescription as one of the key drivers of addiction. Could the solution be as simple as asking patients how much they need?
This is what Michigan Medicine Researchers set out to test by designing a shared decision-making tool for patients undergoing hysterectomy for benign, non-obstetric symptoms.
After being counseled on the options for pain management post-surgery and the risks of opioids, patients chose to receive an average of seven fewer opioid tablets on discharge, with no increase in later requests for refills.
This reduction did not seem to reduce patients’ quality of pain control, with 98% reporting reporting it adequate or good and 63% saying their pain level was better or much better than expected.
These findings are in alignment with senior author Sawsan As-Sanie’s previous research which found that most women discontinued opioid use after a hysterectomy before using their full prescription, as well as other Michigan Medicine research into reducing opioid use in women who delivered babies by cesarean section.
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