Opioid Fills in Children Undergoing Surgery From 2011 to 2014

A Retrospective Analysis of Relationships Among Age, Initial Days Supplied, and Refills

Martha Wetzel, MSPH; Jason M. Hockenberry, PhD; Mehul V. Raval, MD, MS


Annals of Surgery. 2021;274(2):e174-e180. 

In This Article


This analysis of nationwide commercial claims data demonstrates that clinical guidelines for opioid prescribing in pediatric acute surgical patients will need to be procedure and age-specific. Furthermore, there is a clear relationship between days supplied in the initial prescription and probability of a refill for humerus fracture, posterior spinal surgery, and tonsillectomy. However, the contrasting lack of a relationship for ACL repair and cholecystectomy reveals the need for a new pain control approach for those procedures. These results can be used by clinicians to inform prescribing and set expectations regarding refill needs.