Association of new opioid continuation with surgical specialty and type in the United States

Mark Bicket, Irene B Murimi, Omar Mansour, Christopher Wu, G. Caleb Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: The consequences of opioids—including post-surgical prescriptions—remain a critical public health issue. We sought to determine how procedure type and subspecialty group influence new opioid use after procedures. Methods: We analyzed 2011–2015 IBM MarketScan Research Databases to identify opioid-naïve adults prescribed opioids for single surgical procedures. We defined new opioid continuation (primary outcome) a priori as receipt of prescription opioids between 90 and 180 days after the procedure. Results: Among 912,882 individuals, new opioid continuation was higher for non-operating room compared to operating room procedures (13.1% versus 9.2%; aOR 1.61; 95% CI 1.59–1.64) and higher for subspecialties including colorectal surgery (aOR 1.35; 95% CI 1.26–1.43) and cardiovascular surgery (aOR 1.30; 95% CI 1.12–1.50) compared to urology as a referent. New opioid continuation was also associated with perioperative opioid prescription dosage, days’ supply, preoperative receipt, and multiple prescriptions. Conclusions: Opioids prescriptions associated with non-operating room surgical exposures appear to confer higher risk regarding conversion to new long-term opioid use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-827
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Analgesics
  • Cohort studies
  • Operative
  • Opioid
  • Pain
  • Postoperative/drug therapy
  • Surgical procedures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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