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    Up to 40% of patients are receiving opioids at the time of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in the United States despite evidence suggesting opioids are ineffective for pain associated with arthritis and have substantial risks. Our primary objective was to determine whether preoperative opioid users had worse knee pain and physical function outcomes 12 months after TKA than patients who were opioid-naive preoperatively; our secondary objective was to determine the prevalence of opioid use before and after TKA in Alberta, Canada. In this retrospective analysis of population-based data, we identified adult patients who underwent TKA between 2013 and 2015 in Alberta. We used multivariable linear regression to examine the association between preoperative opioid use and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain and physical function scores 12 months after TKA, adjusting for potentially confounding variables. Of the 1907 patients, 592 (31.0%) had at least 1 opioid dispensed before TKA, and 124 (6.5%) were classified as long-term opioid users. Long-term opioid users had worse adjusted WOMAC pain and physical function scores 12 months after TKA than patients who were opioid-naive preoperatively (pain score β = 7.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.0 to 11.6; physical function score β = 7.8, 95% CI 4.0 to 11.6; p < 0.001 for both). The majority (89 ([71.8%]) of patients who were long-term opioid users preoperatively were dispensed opioids 180-360 days after TKA, compared to 158 (12.0%) patients who were opioid-naive preoperatively. A substantial number of patients were dispensed opioids before and after TKA, and patients who received opioids preoperatively had worse adjusted pain and functional outcome scores 12 months after TKA than patients who were opioidnaive preoperatively. These results suggest that patients prescribed opioids preoperatively should be counselled judiciously regarding expected outcomes after TKA. © 2021 Joule Inc. or its licensors.


    C Michael Goplen, Sung Hyun Kang, Jason R Randell, C Allyson Jones, Donald C Voaklander, Thomas A Churchill, Lauren A Beaupre. Effect of preoperative long-term opioid therapy on patient outcomes after total knee arthroplasty: an analysis of multicentre population-based administrative data. Canadian journal of surgery. Journal canadien de chirurgie. 2021 Mar 05;64(2):E135-E143

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    PMID: 33666382

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