Aarhus University Seal

An individualised tapering protocol reduces opioid use 1 year after spine surgery: A randomised controlled trial of patients with preoperative opioid use

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Persistent opioid use following surgery is common especially in patients with preoperative opioid use. This study aims to determine the long-term effect of an individualised opioid tapering plan versus standard of care in patients with a preoperative opioid use undergoing spine surgery at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.

METHODS: This is the 1-year follow-up of a prospective, single-centre, randomised trial of 110 patients who underwent elective spine surgery for degenerative disease. The intervention was an individualised tapering plan at discharge and telephone counselling 1 week after discharge, compared to standard of care. Postoperative outcomes after 1 year include opioid use, reasons for opioid use and pain intensity.

RESULTS: The overall response rate to the 1-year follow-up questionnaire was 94% (intervention group 52/55 patients and control group 51/55 patients). Forty-two patients (proportion = 0.81, 95% CI 0.67-0.89) in the intervention group compared to 31 (0.61, 95% CI 0.47-0.73; p = .026) patients in the control group succeeded in tapering to zero 1 year after discharge (p = .026). One patient (0.02, 95% CI 0.01-0.13) in the intervention group compared to seven patients (0.14, 95% CI 0.07-0.26) in the control group were unable to taper to their preoperative dose 1 year after discharge (p = .025). Back/neck and radicular pain intensity was similar between study groups.

CONCLUSION: These results suggest that an individualised tapering plan at discharge combined with telephone counselling 1 week after discharge can reduce opioid use 1 year after spine surgery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Pages (from-to)1085-1090
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica Foundation.

    Research areas

  • opioid tapering, opioid tolerant, opioid withdrawal, persistent opioid use, spine surgery, Prospective Studies, Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use, Humans, Opioid-Related Disorders, Spine/surgery, Pain, Postoperative/drug therapy, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 322085592