Evidence-Based Recommendations for Opioid Prescribing after Endourological and Minimally Invasive Urological Surgery

J Endourol. 2021 Jun 9. doi: 10.1089/end.2021.0250. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Procedure-specific guidelines for postsurgical opioid use can decrease overprescribing and facilitate opioid stewardship. Initial recommendations were based on feasibility data from limited pilot studies. This study aims to refine opioid prescribing recommendations for endourological and minimally invasive urological procedures by integrating emerging clinical evidence with a panel consensus.

Methods: A multistakeholder panel was convened with broad subspecialty expertise. Primary literature on opioid prescribing after 16 urological procedures was systematically assessed. Using a modified Delphi technique, the panel reviewed and revised procedure-specific recommendations and opioid stewardship strategies based on additional evidence. All recommendations were developed for opioid-naïve adult patients after uncomplicated procedures.

Results: Seven relevant studies on postsurgical opioid prescribing were identified: four studies on ureteroscopy, two studies on robotic prostatectomy including a combined study on robotic nephrectomy, and one study on transurethral prostate surgery. The panel affirmed prescribing ranges to allow tailoring quantities to anticipated need. The panel noted that zero opioid tablets would be potentially appropriate for all procedures. Following evidence review, the panel reduced the maximum recommended quantities for 11 of the 16 procedures; the other 5 procedures were unchanged. Opioids were no longer recommended following diagnostic endoscopy and transurethral resection procedures. Finally, data on prescribing decisions supported expanded stewardship strategies for first-time prescribing and ongoing quality improvement.

Conclusion: Reductions in initial opioid prescribing recommendations are supported by evidence for most endourological and minimally invasive urological procedures. Shared decision-making prior to prescribing and periodic reevaluation of individual prescribing patterns are strongly recommended to strengthen opioid stewardship.