Prescribing Fewer Opioids After Rotator Cuff Repair and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Lowers Opioid Consumption Without Impacting Patient-Reported Pain Scores

Open AccessPublished:August 12, 2022DOI:


      To develop a standardized opioid prescribing schedule (SOPS) following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) and rotator cuff repair (RCR) and evaluate postoperative opioid consumption alongside Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS) pain interference scores.


      A prospective observational study was performed on all patients undergoing primary ACLR and RCR from March 2019 to October 2021. Patients taking opioids preoperatively and revision ACLR and RCR were excluded. PROMIS 6B questionnaires were administered before and after implantation of the SOPS initiated on December 15, 2019. Opioid consumption was determined by email surveys. Hypothesis testing was performed with Mann–Whitney U test.


      A total of 599 patients met inclusion criteria with 188 patients (71 ACLR and 117 RCR) completing surveys. Before the initiation of SOPS, the average number of oxycodone 5-mg tablets prescribed for ACLR was 44.6 (95% confidence interval [CI] 42.4-46.9) and for RCR was 44.7 (95% CI 42.7-46.8). The average usage was 23.1 (95% CI 16.9-29.2) and 22.1 (95% CI 16.2-28.0), respectively. Following SOPS of 30 tablets of oxycodone 5 mg for ACLR and 40 tablets for RCR, the average number of tablets prescribed significantly decreased for both procedures (P < .01 for ACLR and RCR), and the average consumption decreased to 20.5 (95% CI 16.6-24.4) and 18.6 (95% CI 14.6-22.5), respectively. PROMIS 6B responses did not demonstrate statistically significant changes following SOPS.


      The results of the present study demonstrate that the implementation of a SOPS reduced postoperative opioid prescribing amounts and consumption without significant impacting PROMIS pain interference scores for ACLR and RCR, supporting the possibility to decrease and standardize opioid prescribing following common sports medicine procedures.

      Level of Evidence

      III: Retrospective, comparative, therapeutic study.
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