Opioid Stewardship in Otolaryngology: State of the Art Review.Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018 05; 158(5):817-827.OH
Objective The United States is facing an epidemic of opioid addiction. Deaths from opioid overdose have quadrupled in the past 15 years and now surpass annual deaths during the height of the human immunodeficiency virus epidemic. There is a link between opioid prescriptions after surgery, opioid misuse, opioid diversion, and use of other drugs of abuse. As surgeons, otolaryngologists contribute to this crisis. Our objective is to outline the risk of abuse from opioids in the management of acute postoperative pain in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery (OHNS) and strategies to avoid misuse. Data Sources PubMed/MEDLINE. Review Methods We conducted a review of the literature on the rate of opioid abuse after surgery, methods of safe opioid use, and strategies to minimize the dangers of opioids. Conclusions Otolaryngologists have a responsibility to treat pain. This begins preoperatively by discussing perioperative pain control and developing a personalized pain control plan. Patients should be aware that opioids carry significant risks of adverse events and abuse. Perioperative use of multimodal nonopioid agents enables pain control and avoidance of opioids in many otolaryngologic cases. When this approach is inadequate, opioids should be used in short duration under close surveillance. Institutional standards for opioid prescribing after common procedures can minimize misuse. Implications for Practice Otolaryngologists need to acknowledge the potential harm that opioids cause. It is essential that we evaluate our practices to ensure that opioids are used responsibly. Furthermore, opioid stewardship should become a priority in otolaryngology.