Association of Opioids With Incisional Ocular Surgery

Abstract [from journal]

Importance: Opioid abuse has been declared a public health emergency. Currently, little is known about the association between opioids and ocular surgery.

Objective: To characterize rates of filled opioid prescriptions after incisional ocular surgeries.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study included patients with incisional ocular surgeries within a large national US insurer's administrative medical claims database. All incisional ocular surgeries from January 2000 through December 2016 were evaluated. An opioid prescription was eligible if it occurred from 1 day before to 7 days after a surgery. Any surgery on a patient who was younger than 18 years, had more than 30 consecutive days of an opioid prescription in the prior 6 months, or had less than 6 months of data in the database prior to surgery was excluded. Data analysis occurred from May 2018 through November 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The rate of opioid prescriptions filled for all incisional ocular surgeries from 2000 through 2016. Primary analysis looked at the rate of filled opioid prescriptions for each ophthalmic subspecialty surgery over time. Secondary analysis assessed which patient or surgical characteristics (ie, age, sex, race/ethnicity, geographic locations, yearly income, educational level, and type of eye surgery) were associated with filling an opioid prescription. Multivariate logistic regression using generalized estimating equations was used to determine odds ratios (ORs) of filling an opioid prescription.

Results: A total of 2 407 962 incisional ocular surgeries were included, of which 45 776 (1.90%) were associated with an opioid prescription. The rate of filled opioid prescriptions varied considerably over time, with the lowest rate occurring in the 2000-2001 cohort year (671 of 45 776 [1.24%]) and the highest in 2014 (5559 of 45 776 [2.51%]). An increasing trend was seen over the course of the study (2000-2001: 671 of 45 776 [1.24%]; 2016: 5851 of 45 776 [2.07%]; P < .001). Multivariate logistic regression showed that year of surgery was significantly associated with filling an opioid prescription, with the highest odds in 2014 (OR, 3.71 [95% CI, 3.33-4.1]), 2015 (OR, 3.33 [95% CI, 2.99-3.70]), and 2016 (OR, 3.27 [95% CI, 2.94-3.63]) compared with 2000 to 2001 (P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest the rate of filled opioid prescriptions are increasing for all types of incisional ocular surgery over time. Given the ongoing national opioid epidemic, understanding patterns of use can help in reversing the epidemic.