New chronic opioid use in Medicaid patients following cholecystectomy

Surg Open Sci. 2022 May 20:9:101-108. doi: 10.1016/j.sopen.2022.05.009. eCollection 2022 Jul.


Background: Commercial insurance data show that chronic opioid use in opioid-naive patients occurs in 1.5% to 8% of patients undergoing surgical procedures, but little is known about patients with Medicaid.

Methods: Opioid prescription data and medical coding data from 4,788 Medicaid patients who underwent cholecystectomy were analyzed to determine opioid use patterns.

Results: A total of 54.4% of patients received opioids prior to surgery, and 38.8% continued to fill opioid prescriptions chronically; 27.1% of opioid-naive patients continued to get opioids chronically. Patients who received ≥ 50 MME/d had nearly 8 times the odds of chronic opioid use. Each additional opioid prescription filled within 30 days was associated with increased odds of chronic use (odds ratio: 1.71).

Conclusion: Opioid prescriptions are common prior to cholecystectomy in Medicaid patients, and 38.8% of patients continue to receive opioid prescriptions well after surgical recovery. Even 27.1% of opioid-naive patients continued to receive opioid prescriptions chronically.