The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 7, S135 - S139

Restrictive Opioid Prescribing Protocols Following Total Hip Arthroplasty and Total Knee Arthroplasty Are Safe and Effective

Holte, Andrew J. et al.
Hip Knee


Orthopedic surgeons may overprescribe opioids postoperatively. Literature examining opioid prescribing guidelines following total joint arthroplasty (TJA) is limited.


Retrospective review was conducted of primary TJAs from June 2017 to February 2018, with 3-month follow-up. Patients were divided into those who underwent surgery before (historical cohort) and after (restrictive cohort) implementation of a strict postoperative opioid prescribing protocol.


Three hundred ninety-nine total patients were included (282 in historical cohort, 117 in restrictive cohort). There was no significant difference in preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative inpatient opioid use. Historical cohort was given significantly larger initial prescriptions, received significantly more refills, and received significantly greater total quantity of opioids per patient. There were significantly fewer call-ins in the restrictive cohort. Clinical outcomes were not significantly different.


Drastic reductions in opioid prescriptions following TJA are possible without an increase in refills, call-ins, or adverse clinical effects.

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