Patients undergoing treatment with multiple opioids for postoperative pain following surgery found that the average hospital charges were higher compared to similar patients who weren’t treated with the same number of opioids, a new study shows.
The study results show that of 17,727 patients, 33 percent were treated with three or more different injectable opioids on the day of surgery. The average hospital charges for these patients were $2,559 higher compared to similar patients. The study was conducted by CogenDx was presented at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research 22nd Annual International Meeting.
“Previous studies have shown that postoperative pain can lead to adverse events, such as hospital readmissions, and these events can have significant economic consequences,” said Rami Ben-Joseph, PhD, senior vice president, health outcomes research, CogenDx. “Our study adds to the understanding of this problem by showing that cost of care may be higher following inpatient surgeries if patients experience postoperative pain requiring treatment with multiple opioids.”
The study, which utilized billing data from the QuintilesIMS Hospital Charge Data Master database, identified the incidence of postoperative pain requiring treatment with multiple opioids by recording the occurrence of hospital charges for injectable opioids that were administered. Propensity score matching was used to reduce bias that may occur due to the lack of randomization.
“Several factors can impact how patients respond to medication. One factor that hasn’t been fully explored is the role of genetics,” explained Dr. Ben-Joseph. “For example, the OPRM1 gene codes for the μ-opioid receptor, which is a target for opioids, like morphine and fentanyl. There’s clinical evidence that patients with a specific variant of OPRM1 may have higher pain sensitivity. Pharmacogenetics may be able to help identify patients who may be at risk of having unanticipated episodes of postoperative pain.”