The Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has announced a "radical" opioid reduction policy will be put into place on January 1, 2019, following a two-year pilot study in which patients were prescribed fewer opioids after medical procedures.
The study was completed by a team of surgeons and other cancer specialists to determine whether opioid prescriptions could be reduced or eliminated. It focused on patients who underwent gynecologic or abdominal surgery, and concludes that the amount of opioid medications prescribed after surgery can be drastically reduced without a negative impact.
According to Roswell, the results demonstrate postoperative pain for minor or minimally invasive surgery can be managed effectively without opioids and postoperative pain for major surgery can be managed with a three-day supply of opioids, which results in a reduction of the risk of chronic opioid misuse.
Based on the success of the two-year opioid-sparing policy for post surgical pain management, the new restrictive protocol will go into place across all Roswell Park surgical services beginning January 1, 2019.
According to the release, Roswell is believed to be the first cancer center in the United States to implement such a radical opioid reduction policy.
During the first year of the pilot study, the restrictive policy eliminated the distribution of 16,374 opioid tablets and the full two-year study restricted the opioid use of 1,231 patients.
This change is expected to protect patients and the community from the risks of opioid use and reduce health care costs.
The full report can be read here.