To evaluate whether an order set change that halved the initial dose of oxycodone and allowed the remainder to be given 1 hour later, if requested, was associated with reduced opioid use and side effects after cesarean delivery.
This retrospective, clinical practice study reviewed electronic medical records after implementation of a new order set for cesarean delivery. Oxycodone orders changed from 5 mg (for verbal pain score of 4/10 or lower) and 10 mg (for 5–10/10) to 2.5 mg (for verbal pain score 1–4/10) or 5 mg (for 5–10/10), and the patient requesting pain relief, with a nurse check within 1 hour to administer another 2.5 or 5 mg, respectively, if needed. The primary outcome was opioid use (in intravenous morphine equivalents) in the first 48 hours. Secondary outcomes included incidence and treatment of nausea or vomiting and pruritis, average and peak verbal pain scores within 48 hours, and satisfaction.
The records of 1,050 women were examined (542 before and 508 after the change). Opioid use in the first 48 hours was lower after the practice change (median [interquartile range] 10.0 [1.3–25.0] mg before vs 4.4 [0–12.5] mg after; P<.001). A small increase in average verbal pain score occurred (mean [SD] 1.8 [1.0] before vs 2.0 [1.3] after; difference −0.2; 95% CI −0.3 to −0.04). Peak verbal pain score (5.9 [2.0] before vs 6.0 [2.1] after; difference −0.1; 95% CI −0.4 to 0.1) and mean (SD) satisfaction score (97.7 [7.2] before vs 97.1 [7.5] after; difference 0.6, 95% CI −0.5 to 1.6) did not change. Fewer patients reported postoperative nausea or vomiting (30.9% before vs 19.3% after; odds ratio 0.5; 95% CI 0.4 to 0.7).
Split doses of oxycodone were associated with 56% reduction in 48 hours opioid use after cesarean delivery.