Bottom Line: Higher proportions of patients in the United States and Canada filled opioid prescriptions after surgery compared with Sweden. This analysis examined differences in rates of opioid prescriptions filled after low-risk surgical procedures (laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder or appendix, arthroscopic knee meniscus surgery and breast excision) among 129,000 patients in the United States, 84,000 patients in Canada and 9,800 in Sweden. The authors report the proportion of patients who filled an opioid prescription within the first seven days after being discharged from the hospital was 76.2% in the United States, 78.6% in Canada and 11.1% in Sweden. The average dose of opioids for most surgical procedures was highest in the United States. Limitations of the study include a lack of information about pain experiences of patients after surgery so the quality of pain treatment across counties couldn't be examined.
Authors: Mark D. Neuman, M.D., M.Sc., University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, and coauthors
Editor's Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
###Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Mark D. Neuman, M.D., M.Sc., email Mike Iorfino at Mike.Iorfino@pennmedicine.upenn.edu">Mike.Iorfino@pennmedicine.upenn.edu. The full study and commentary are linked to this news release.
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