Mitigating the Opioid Crisis for Wound Care Providers Using Opioid Stewardship

Robert George Smith, DPM, MSc, RPh


Wounds. 2020;32(6):146-151. 

In This Article

N: Number of Opioid Doses

"N" stands for the number of opioid doses. Ideally, OSPs can assist in ensuring that lower doses are prescribed to patients by using data collected by information technology tools.[6,7] Overton et al[30] found that procedure-specific prescribing recommendations may help provide guidance to clinicians who may currently overprescribe opioids following surgery. Ideally, opioid analgesics are prescribed by balancing the benefits and adverse effects. The appropriate combination of agents, including opioids and adjunctive medications, may be considered rational pharmacotherapy and provide a stable therapeutic platform to base treatment changes. Clinical literature findings suggest that 20 doses of an opioid agent may be sufficient to manage postoperative pain resulting from some orthopedic and lower extremity surgical interventions.[31–33] Finally, wound care physicians are encouraged to educate their patients about drug take-back programs in the event of their being prescribed excessive opioid doses.