Optimization of Opioid Discharge Prescriptions Following Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery

Elsie Rizk, Fangzheng Yuan, Feibi Zheng, Ezekiel Fink, Navjot Kaur, Anh Thu Tran, Tomona Iso, Nadia G. Mohyuddin, Apurva A. Thekdi, Gilchrist L. Jackson, Matthew A. Wanat, J. Douglas Thornton, Joshua T. Swan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of a quality improvement bundle on opioid discharge prescribing following thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy.

METHODS: This before-and-after study included patients undergoing thyroidectomy or parathyroidectomy at an academic medical center. The quality improvement bundle included a patient education flyer, electronic health record order sets with multimodal analgesia regimens, and provider education. The preimplementation cohort included patients treated from January 2018 to December 2019. The postimplementation cohort included patients treated from June 2021 to August 2021. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who received new opioid discharge prescriptions.

RESULTS: A total of 160 patients were included in the preimplementation cohort, and the first 80 patients treated after bundle implementation were included in the postimplementation cohort. Patients receiving new opioid discharge prescriptions decreased from 80% (128/160) in the preimplementation cohort to 35% (28/80) in the postimplementation cohort with an unadjusted absolute reduction of 45% (95% CI, 33%-57%; P < .001; number needed to treat = 3) and an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 0.08 (95% CI, 0.04-0.19; P < .001). The bundle was associated with reductions in opioid discharge prescriptions that exceeded 112.5 oral morphine milligram equivalents (33% pre- vs 10% postimplementation; adjusted OR, 0.20; P = .001) or 5 days of therapy (17% pre- vs 6% postimplementation; adjusted OR, 0.34; P = .049).

DISCUSSION: Implementation of a pain management quality improvement bundle reduced opioid discharge prescribing following thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Unnecessary opioid prescriptions generate unused opioids in patients' homes that can lead to opioid misuse. We believe that this bundle reduced the risk for opioid misuse in our community.

REGISTRATION: The study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT04955444) before implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-184
Number of pages9
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • opioid stewardship
  • opioids
  • pain management
  • parathyroidectomy
  • patient safety/quality improvement
  • thyroidectomy
  • Humans
  • Patient Discharge
  • Thyroid Gland
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use
  • Opioid-Related Disorders
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Pain, Postoperative/drug therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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