Opioid Prescription After Carpal Tunnel Release Is Declining Independent of State Laws

Daniel J. Cunningham, MD, MHSc; Eliana B. Saltzman, MD; Daniel J. Lorenzana, MD; Christopher S. Klifto, MD; Marc J. Richard, MD; Tyler S. Pidgeon, MD


J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2021;29(11):486-497. 

In This Article


This study demonstrates that meaningful reductions have been noted in opioid prescription filling after CTR in the United States. Parallel downward trends are seen in both first prescription and overall prescription filling volume. The finding of increased refill rates from the 2011 to 2017 are likely because of decreased initial opioid prescription volume. Although pain control subject is a critical element in caring for postoperative patients, orthopaedic surgeons must continue to make efforts toward limiting unnecessary or excessive prescribing of opioids. Upper extremity surgeons must continue to investigate the true opioid analgesic needs to provide adequate pain relief and patient satisfaction without contributing to the national opioid crisis. States with seemingly effective legislation may serve as a model for reformed legislation in states with ineffective policies and new legislation in states who have yet to respond formally to the opioid crisis.