University of Kentucky uses stepwise protocols to reduce opioid prescriptions

As the state of Kentucky began to tackle the opioid epidemic by passing legislation on the amount, duration and procedures for which controlled substances can be prescribed, the University of Kentucky began to establish additional opioid-prescribing guidelines and protocols for each of its surgical services.

For acute injuries and postoperatively, unless there are extenuating circumstances, we have limited prescribing opioids for no more than a 2-week duration,” Eric S. Moghadamian, MD, division chief for orthopedic trauma and medical director of the orthopedic clinics at the University of Kentucky, told “Additionally, … we have taken a look at our general prescribing practices and general prescribing practices nationwide, as well as some of the literature regarding pill count and unused pills, and subsequently reduced the volume of pills and the duration we are now prescribing.”