Differences in prescription of narcotic pain medication after operative treatment of hip and ankle fractures in the United States and the Netherlands

  • Lindenhovious A
  • Helmerhorts G
  • Schnellen A
 et al. 
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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Interactions between American and Dutch surgeons suggested differences in prescription habits for pain medication after fracture treatment. METHODS: The percentages of 190 American [100 after hip open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) and 90 after ankle ORIF] and 116 Dutch patients (69 after hip ORIF and 47 after ankle ORIF) receiving inpatient and outpatient prescriptions for narcotics were retrospectively compared between countries, to test the hypothesis that narcotics are prescribed more frequently in the United States as compared with The Netherlands after operative fracture treatment. RESULTS: Among patients with hip fractures, 85% of American and 58% of Dutch patients were prescribed narcotics during hospitalization (p < 0.001). After discharge, 77% of American and none of the Dutch patients were prescribed narcotics (p < 0.001). The multivariate model including country accounted for 11% of the variation in inpatient narcotic prescription (p < 0.001), and the model including country and surgeon accounted for 55% of the variation in outpatient narcotic prescription (p < 0.001). Among patients with ankle fracture, 98% of American and 64% of Dutch patients were prescribed narcotics during hospitalization (p < 0.001). After discharge, 82% of American patients and 6% of Dutch patients were prescribed narcotics (p < 0.001). Predictors included country and surgeon and they accounted for 20% of the variation in inpatient narcotics prescription (p < 0.001) and 49% of the variation in outpatient narcotic prescription (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: American patients are prescribed significantly more inpatient and outpatient narcotic pain medication than Dutch patients after operative treatment of hip and ankle fractures.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ankle
  • Fractures
  • Hip
  • Narcotics
  • Pain medication

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Authors

  • Anneluuk L.C. Lindenhovious

  • Gijs T.T. Helmerhorts

  • Alexandra C. Schnellen

  • Mark Vrahas

  • David Ring

  • Peter Kloen

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