Opioid prescriptions filled after eye surgery doubled over a decade

From 2000 to 2014, rates of filled opioid prescriptions after eye surgery rose considerably, despite reduced invasiveness of these procedures, according to a new study by researchers in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. The results are published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

hundreds of empty prescription pill bottles

“This really is surprising, given that there have been tremendous strides in the past decade to reduce the invasiveness and recovery time for these procedures. We would have expected rates to go down, not up,” says the study’s senior author Brian VanderBeek, an assistant professor of ophthalmology.

The overall rate of filled opioid prescriptions after these procedures more than doubled, from 1.2 percent in 2000-01 to 2.5 percent in 2014, across six different ocular subspecialties. Rates dropped for the first time to 2.2 percent in 2015 and then to 2.1 percent in 2016. However, the researchers found that after controlling for differences among the types of surgeries, the odds of having an opioid medication filled after any incisional ocular surgery was over three times higher in 2014-16 compared to 2000-04.

Read more at Penn Medicine News.