No accepted standard exists regarding the number of opioids to prescribe after many surgical procedures, and previous literature has indicated that the number of opioids prescribed influences the total number of pills consumed. The goal of this study was to investigate whether prescribing less opioids after hip arthroscopy results in less total postoperative utilization without compromising analgesia and identify risk factors for increased use.
This study randomized 111 patients to receive either 30 or 60 tablets of hydrocodone/acetaminophen 10 to 325 mg after hip arthroscopy. Demographic information, pain instruments, and scores including International Hip Outcome Tool (iHOT-12) were collected preoperatively. Postoperatively, patients were contacted over the course of 3 weeks to determine their Numeric Pain Rating Scale scores, total number of tablets taken/leftover, and the last day that they required narcotic pain medications, which were calculated and compared for each group. Preoperative variables that increased the risk of higher narcotic pain medication requirements were assessed.
Patients in the 60-tablet group had significantly more tablets leftover than the 30-tablet group (49.5 versus 22.0, P < 0.001) and had no significant difference in Numeric Pain Rating Scale scores at 24 hours, 48 hours, or final follow-up. The 30- and 60-tablet groups demonstrated no significant difference in average tablets consumed (9.2 and 10.5, P = 0.60), respectively. Risk factors for increased postoperative opioid use included preoperative opioid use (B = 12.62, 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.28–18.96, P < 0.001) or muscle relaxant use (B = 22.45, 95% CI, 7.59–37.31, P < 0.0036) within 1 year preoperatively. Preoperative iHOT-12 scoring also significantly predicted postoperative opioid consumption in this cohort (B = −0.25, 95% CI, −0.45 to −0.036, P < 0.022).
The number of leftover tablets after hip arthroscopy can be significantly reduced by prescribing 30 tablets compared with 60 tablets without affecting postoperative pain control. Total tablets prescribed in this cohort did not affect total opioid utilization. Preoperative factors including opioid or muscle relaxant use and iHOT-12 scores can be used to predict postoperative opioid requirements.