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Neurosurgery. 2019 Jul 5. pii: nyz232. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyz232. [Epub ahead of print]

Protocolization of Post-Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion Pain Control with Elimination of Benzodiazepines and Long-Acting Opioids.

Author information

1
Division of Neurosurgery, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.
2
Department of Anesthesiology, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The opioid epidemic continues to worsen with a concomitant increase in opioid-related mortality. In response, the Department of Defense and Veterans Health Agency recommended against the use of long-acting opioids (LAOs) and concurrent use of opioids with benzodiazepines. Subsequently, we eliminated benzodiazepines and LAOs from our postoperative pain control regimen.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the impact of removing benzodiazepines and LAOs on postoperative pain in single-level transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) patients.

METHODS:

A retrospective cohort study of single-level TLIF patients from February 2016-March 2018 was performed. Postoperative pain control in the + benzodiazepine cohort included scheduled diazepam with or without LAOs. These medications were replaced with nonbenzodiazepine, opioid-sparing adjuncts in the -benzodiazepine cohort. Pain scores, length of hospitalization, trigger medication use, and opioid use and duration were compared.

RESULTS:

Among 77 patients, there was no difference between inpatient pain scores, but the -benzodiazepine cohort experienced a faster rate of morphine equivalent reduction (-18.7%, 95% CI [-1.22%, -36.10%]), used less trigger medications (-1.55, 95% CI [-0.43, -2.67]), and discharged earlier (0.6 d; 95% CI [0.01, 1.11 d]). As outpatients, the -benzodiazepine cohort was less likely to receive opioid refills at 2 wk (29.2% vs 55.8%, P = .021) and 6 mo postoperatively (0% vs 13.2%, P = .039), and was less likely to be using opioids by 3 mo postoperatively (13.3% vs 34.2%, P = .048).

CONCLUSION:

Replacement of benzodiazepines and LAOs in the pain control regimen for single-level TLIFs did not affect pain scores and was associated with decreased opioid use, a reduction in trigger medications, and shorter hospitalizations.

KEYWORDS:

Opioids; Pain control; Quality improvement; Spinal fusion

PMID:
31274165
DOI:
10.1093/neuros/nyz232

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