FAI November 2018 Podcast: Prospective Evaluation of Utilization Patterns and Prescribing Guidelines of Opioid Consumption Following Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Surgery

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Overprescription of narcotic pain medication is a major culprit in the present opioid epidemic plaguing the United States. The current literature on lower extremity opioid usage has limitations and would benefit from additional study. The purpose of our study was to prospectively assess opioid consumption patterns following outpatient orthopedic foot and ankle procedures.

Our study found that patients who underwent orthopedic foot and ankle procedures were overprescribed narcotic medication by nearly twice the amount that was actually consumed. Although we identified 4 independent factors associated with opioid consumption, the large residual standard error suggests that there remains a substantial degree of unexplained variance of opioid consumption observed in the patient population. Physicians face a challenging task of setting appropriate protocols when balancing pain relief and generalizable guidelines.

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