Outcomes and patient perspectives following implementation of tiered opioid prescription guidelines in gynecologic surgery

Gretchen E. Glaser, Eleftheria Kalogera, Amanika Kumar, Johnny Yi, Christopher Destephano, Daniel Ubl, Amy Glasgow, Elizabeth Habermann, Sean C. Dowdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: To report the impact of implementing standardized guidelines for opioid prescriptions after gynecologic surgery and describe patient perspectives before and after implementation for those undergoing laparotomy for ovarian cancer. Methods: Patients undergoing gynecologic surgery between October 2017 and May 2018 were prescribed opioids at discharge using tiered guidelines; prescriptions were compared to consecutive historical controls (March 2017–October 2017). A subset of ovarian cancer laparotomy patients were surveyed regarding postoperative opioid consumption and patient experience. Results: A total of 620 women in the tiered guideline cohort were compared with 599 historical controls. Following implementation, 95.8% of prescriptions met guidelines. Median milligram morphine equivalents (MME) prescribed decreased from 150 to 75 (p ≤ 0.001) with no change in opioid refills (7.7 vs 6.9%, p = 0.62). In surveyed ovarian cancer patients, 100% of tiered guideline patients and 92% of historical controls felt satisfied with pain control (p = 0.24), despite a 50% reduction in prescribed MME and 14.6% receiving no opioids at discharge (p = 0.002). The median (IQR) MME consumed after discharge was 15 (0, 75) in tiered guideline patients vs. 24 (0, 135) in historical controls, and 38.2% and 42.4% consumed no opioids, respectively. Mean time between surgery and opioid use cessation was <1 week in both groups; patients' perceptions of opioid prescription appropriateness did not change (p = 0.49). More than 75% of patients kept their remaining opioids rather than dispose of them. Conclusions: Reducing prescribed opioids after gynecologic surgery using tiered guidelines did not increase opioid refills or worsen patients' perceptions of postoperative pain. Even after laparotomy, very little opioids were required over a short duration after dismissal. Infrequent disposal of leftover opioids highlights the need to avoid over-prescribing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-481
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Outcomes and patient perspectives following implementation of tiered opioid prescription guidelines in gynecologic surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this