The use of outpatient opioid medication for acute renal colic and ureteral stents: Insights from a multi-institutional patient survey

Clin Nephrol. 2020 Jun;93(6):269-274. doi: 10.5414/CN109991.


Aims: To investigate the main reasons for use of opioids during acute episodes of renal colic and for ureteral stent symptoms post-operatively.

Material and methods: A survey assessing the impact of decreased quality of life and use of opioid pain medication was distributed to patients with a history of ureteral stent at seven academic centers between July 2016 and June 2018.

Results: A total of 365 surveys were completed. Opioid use for stone (63.9%) and stent-related pain (39.0%) was common among respondents. When assessing whether patients used more opioids for stone or stent-related pain, 47.7% reported using more for stone pain while 15.0% reported using more for stent pain. 22.6% of patients required opioids for stent-related pain and not stone pain. Increasing patient age was found to be negatively associated with using opioids for stent-related pain (OR: 0.4, 95% CI: 0.3 - 0.6). Increasing age was also found to be negatively associated with opioid use for stone pain (OR: 0.6, 95% CI: 0.4 - 0.8). Patients with a greater number of prior stones had 3.2 times the odds of using opioids for stone pain, in our adjusted model (95% CI: 2.1 - 4.7).

Conclusion: Patients with more prior stone episodes are more likely to have used opioids for their most recent episode. Although ureteral stents have been shown to be associated with a decreased quality of life, we showed that the use of opioids for stent-related pain is less than that for stone pain. Younger patients are less likely to tolerate a stent without opioid analgesics.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Quality of Life
  • Renal Colic / drug therapy*
  • Stents / adverse effects*
  • Ureteral Calculi / therapy*


  • Analgesics, Opioid