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Long-term opioid use in seniors following hip and knee arthroplasty in Ontario: a historical cohort study

Consommation à long terme d’opioïdes chez les personnes âgées à la suite d’une arthroplastie de la hanche ou du genou en Ontario : une étude de cohorte historique

Abstract

Purpose

Canadian seniors who undergo hip and knee arthroplasty often experience significant postoperative pain, which could result in persistent opioid use. We aimed to document the impact of preoperative opioid use and other characteristics on postoperative opioid prescriptions in elderly patients following hip and knee replacement before widespread dissemination of opioid reduction strategies.

Methods

We conducted a historical cohort study to evaluate postoperative opioid use in patients over 65 yr undergoing primary total hip and knee replacement over a ten-year period from 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2016, using linked de-identified Ontario administrative data. We determined the use of preoperative opioids and the duration of postoperative opioid prescriptions (short-term [1–90 days], prolonged [91–180 days], chronic [181–365 days], or undocumented).

Results

The study included 49,638 hip and 85,558 knee replacement patients. Eighteen percent of hip and 21% of knee replacement patients received an opioid prescription within 90 days before surgery. Postoperatively, 51% of patients filled opioid prescriptions for 1–90 days, while 24% of hip and 29% of knee replacement patients filled prescriptions between 6 and 12 months, with no impact of preoperative opioid use. Residence in long-term care was a significant predictor of chronic opioid use (hip: odds ratio [OR], 2.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.93 to 3.59; knee: OR, 2.46; 95% CI, 1.75 to 3.45); other risk factors included female sex and increased comorbidities.

Conclusion

Despite a main goal of joint arthroplasty being relief of pain, seniors commonly remained on postoperative opioids, even if not receiving opioids before surgery. Opioid reduction strategies need to be implemented at the surgical, primary physician, long-term care, and patient levels. These findings form a basis for future investigations following implementation of opioid reduction approaches.

Résumé

Objectif

Les aînés canadiens subissant une arthroplastie de la hanche ou du genou éprouvent souvent une douleur postopératoire importante, ce qui pourrait entraîner la consommation persistante d’opioïdes. Nous avons cherché à documenter l’impact d’une utilisation préopératoire d’opioïdes et d’autres caractéristiques sur les prescriptions postopératoires d’opioïdes chez les patients âgés suivant un remplacement de hanche ou de genou avant l’utilisation répandue de stratégies de réduction d’opioïdes.

Méthode

Nous avons réalisé une étude de cohorte historique pour évaluer la consommation postopératoire d’opioïdes chez les patients de plus de 65 ans subissant une arthroplastie totale primaire de la hanche ou du genou sur une période de dix ans du 1er avril 2006 au 31 mars 2016, à l’aide de données administratives dépersonnalisées et codées de l’Ontario. Nous avons déterminé la durée des ordonnances préopératoires et postopératoires d’opioïdes (à court terme [1-90 jours], prolongées [91-180 jours], chroniques [181-365 jours] ou non documentées).

Résultats

L’étude a porté sur 49 638 patients ayant subi une arthroplastie de la hanche et 85 558 patients une arthroplastie du genou. Dix-huit pour cent des patients ayant subi une arthroplastie de la hanche et 21 % des patients ayant subi une arthroplastie du genou ont reçu une ordonnance d’opioïdes dans les 90 jours précédant leur chirurgie. En période postopératoire, 51 % des patients ont utilisé leurs ordonnances d’opioïdes pendant 1 à 90 jours, tandis que 24 % des patients d’arthroplastie de la hanche et 29 % des patients d’arthroplastie du genou ont utilisé leurs ordonnances entre six et 12 mois. Le fait d’habiter dans un établissement de soins de longue durée était un prédicteur important de consommation chronique d’opioïdes (hanche : rapport de cotes [RC], 2,64; intervalle de confiance [IC] à 95 %, 1,93 à 3,59; genou : RC, 2,46; IC 95 %, 1,75 à 3,45); le sexe féminin et l’augmentation des comorbidités constituaient d’autres facteurs de risque.

Conclusion

Bien que l’un des principaux objectifs de l’arthroplastie articulaire soit le soulagement de la douleur, les personnes âgées continuent généralement à consommer des opioïdes en période postopératoire, même si elles ne prenaient pas d’opioïdes avant leur chirurgie. Il est nécessaire de mettre en œuvre des stratégies de réduction des opioïdes qui s’adressent aux chirurgiens, aux médecins traitants, aux soins de longue durée et aux patients. Ces constatations constituent la base d’études futures réalisées à la suite de la mise en œuvre d’approches de réduction des opioïdes.

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Author contributions

Ana Johnson, Joel Parlow, and Brian Milne contributed to all aspects of this manuscript, including study conception and design; acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data; and drafting the article. Ian Gilron, Narges Jamali, Matthew Pasquali, and Steve Mann contributed to interpretation of data and drafting the article. Kieran Moore contributed to the design of the study. Erin Graves contributed to data acquisition and analysis.

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by ICES, which is funded by an annual grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long-Term Care. The analyses, conclusions, opinions, and statements expressed herein are solely those of the authors and do not reflect those of the funding or data sources; no endorsement is intended or should be inferred. We thank IQVIA Solutions Canada Inc for use of their Drug Information File.

Disclosures

None.

Funding statement

This project was funded by an Applied Health Research Question (AHRQ) grant from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, ON, Canada.

Editorial responsibility

This submission was handled by Dr. Stephan K.W. Schwarz, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of Anesthesia/Journal canadien d’anesthésie.

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Correspondence to Joel Parlow MD.

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Johnson, A., Milne, B., Pasquali, M. et al. Long-term opioid use in seniors following hip and knee arthroplasty in Ontario: a historical cohort study. Can J Anesth/J Can Anesth (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12630-021-02091-2

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Keywords

  • Postoperative pain
  • Opioids
  • Arthroplasty
  • Elderly