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Comment & Response
January 9, 2019

Errors in Analysis in Study of New Persistent Opioid Use After Surgery

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
  • 2Division of Pain Research, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 3Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 4Veterans’ Affairs Center for Clinical Management Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • 5Michigan Center for Health Analytics and Medical Prediction, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
JAMA Surg. Published online January 9, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.5299

To the Editor On behalf of our coauthors, we write to explain an error that we have discovered in our analysis for the Original Investigation titled, “New Persistent Opioid Use After Minor and Major Surgical Procedures in US Adults,” published online April 12, 2017, in JAMA Surgery.1 In this article, we reported our study of US nationwide insurance claims data and adults without opioid use prior to undergoing a surgical procedure. We compared the incidence of new persistent opioid use (more than 90 days after surgery) among those undergoing minor vs major surgical procedures and compared the incidences with new opioid use in a nonoperative control group. For the primary study outcome, we found similar rates of persistent opioid use among those undergoing minor and major surgical procedures, ranging from 5.9% to 6.5%, and the incidence in the nonoperative control group was 0.4%. We identified risk factors associated with new persistent opioid use, including tobacco use, alcohol and substance use disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, and preoperative pain disorders (ie, back pain, neck pain, arthritis, and centralized pain). We concluded, “New persistent opioid use after surgery is common and is not significantly different between minor and major surgical procedures but rather associated with behavioral and pain disorders.”1

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