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J Arthroplasty. 2018 Jul;33(7S):S142-S146. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2018.01.004. Epub 2018 Jan 16.

Patients at Risk: Preoperative Opioid Use Affects Opioid Prescribing, Refills, and Outcomes After Total Knee Arthroplasty.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of preoperative opioid use on opioid prescriptions, refills, and clinical outcomes after total knee arthroplasty (TKA).


A retrospective review identified 53 patients on preoperative opioids who were matched 1:2 to 106 opioid-naive patients undergoing primary TKA with at least 2-year follow-up. Opioid refills, Knee Society Score (preoperative and follow-up), morphine equivalent dose (MED) prescribed, and persistent opioid use were compared between groups.


The average total MED prescribed at discharge was 1248 mg, ranging from 0 to 5600 mg. The average daily MED used before discharge was greater in the preoperative opioid group compared to the opioid-naive group (90 ± 75 mg vs 54 ± 42 mg; P = .001). The preoperative opioid group and opioid-naive group differed in terms of refills (1.3 ± 1.6 vs 0.4 ± 0.6; P = .0001), persistent opioid use (21 [39%] vs 5 [4%], P = .0001), postoperative KSS (85 ± 11 vs 90 ± 13; P = .01), and manipulations under anesthesia (4 [8%] vs 1 [1%], P = .03). Preoperative tramadol users had the same risk of refills, persistent opioid use, reduced KSS, and manipulation under anesthesia as those taking other opioids.


Preoperative opioid users were discharged with less opioids, required more refills, were more likely to remain on opioids, and required more manipulations under anesthesia than opioid-naive patients. These risks extended to preoperative tramadol users.


morphine equivalent dose; opioid abuse; preoperative opioid use; refill rate; total knee arthroplasty

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