Postoperative opioid prescribing patterns in the geriatric patient population

Jennifer Dias, Shruti Zaveri, Celia Divino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Opioid prescription patterns in elderly patients undergoing general surgery are not well characterized. The purpose of this study was to identify trends in postoperative opioid prescriptions in geriatric patients undergoing general surgery procedures and determine prescribing differences between the geriatric and non-geriatric patient population. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated geriatric and non-geriatric patients undergoing the most frequently performed open and laparoscopic general surgery procedures at our institution from 2014 to 2019. Differences in opioid prescriptions between the groups were analyzed. Results: We identified 5874 non-geriatric and 3306 geriatrics patients who underwent the included procedures at our institution. 5169 (88.0%) of non-geriatric patients and 2692 (81.4%) of geriatric patients received a perioperative opioid prescription. While the vast majority of both groups were prescribed opioids, geriatric patients were less likely to receive an opioid prescription (p < 0.0001). Between 2016 and 2019, the amount of opioid prescribed in the geriatric population decreased each year (p < 0.0001). Prescription amounts were significantly higher in geriatric patients aged 65–74 compared to patients 85 or older (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Individuals older than 65 years of age represent a growing percent of the population and there is a need to better understand opioid prescribing practices in this complex patient group. Postoperative opioid prescribing patterns differ significantly between the geriatric and non-geriatric patient population and warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-422
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • General surgery
  • Geriatrics
  • Opioid prescription
  • Postoperative pain


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