The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 10, 2319 - 2323

Chronic Prescription Opioid Use Before and After Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty in Patients Younger Than 65 Years

Chen, Eric Y. et al.
Hip Knee


Opioids are commonly prescribed to patients with painful and symptomatic degenerative joint disease preoperatively as a nonoperative intervention to reduce patients’ symptoms and pain. The goal of total joint arthroplasty (TJA) is to reduce or eliminate the painful symptoms of degenerative joint disease. Due to the addictive property of opioid medications, some patients may develop a pattern of chronic opioid use after TJA.


We used MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database to identify 125,019 patients (age <65 years) who underwent total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) between 2009 and 2012. During the study period, opioid use was analyzed 3 months before surgery and at 12 months after surgery. We defined chronic opioid use as having 2 or more opioid prescriptions filled within any 6-week period. Multivariate logistic regression was used.


Of the 24,127 patients who were chronic prescription opioid users before surgery, 72% were no longer chronic users 1 year after surgery. Of the 100,892 patients who were nonusers before surgery, 4% became chronic users within 1 year after surgery. TKA and hospital stay longer than 3 days were significant risk factors of persisting chronic opioid use after surgery, while age played a mixed role in predicting change of opioid use.


Using our definition of chronic use, overall chronic opioid use decreased from 19% to 9% after TJA. Patients were more likely to cease chronic opioid use after TJA (72%) than to become chronic users (4%).

Download article