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Research Letter
September 18, 2019

Trends in Chronic Opioid Use Around Inpatient Surgery Within the Veterans Health Administration

Author Affiliations
  • 1Critical Care and Perioperative Epidemiologic Research (CAPER) Unit, Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
  • 2Durham VA Health Care System, Durham, North Carolina
  • 3Novisci, LLC, Durham, North Carolina
JAMA Surg. Published online September 18, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.2895

In a large national sample within a managed care organization, incident long-term opioid therapy (LTOT) after surgery occurred in approximately 6% of preoperatively opioid-naive patients between 2013 and 2014.1 Because veterans have more chronic pain than the general population,2 incident LTOT may be more common within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). We sought to examine incident postoperative LTOT and incident postoperative cessation of opioid use between 2000 and 2016 within the VHA, a time frame spanning the prescription opioid epidemic.3

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