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Maciejewski ML, Smith VA, Berkowitz TSZ, Arterburn DE, Bradley KA, Olsen MK, Liu CF, Livingston EH, Funk LM, Mitchell JE. Long-term opioid use after bariatric surgery. Surgery for obesity and related diseases : official journal of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. 2020 Aug 1; 16(8):1100-1110.
BACKGROUND: Opioid analgesics are often prescribed to manage pain after bariatric surgery, which may develop into chronic prescription opioid use (CPOU) in opioid-naïve patients. Bariatric surgery may affect opioid use in those with or without presurgical CPOU. OBJECTIVE: To compare CPOU persistence and incidence in a large multisite cohort of veterans undergoing bariatric surgery (open Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, laparoscopic RYGB, or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy) and matched nonsurgical controls. SETTING: Veterans Administration hospitals. METHODS: In a retrospective cohort study, we matched 1117 surgical patients with baseline CPOU to 9531 nonsurgical controls, and 2822 surgical patients without CPOU at baseline to 26,392 nonsurgical controls using sequential stratification. CPOU persistence in veterans with baseline CPOU was estimated using generalized estimating equations by procedure type. CPOU incidence in veterans without baseline CPOU was estimated in Cox regression models by procedure type because postoperative pain, complications, and absorption may differ by procedure. RESULTS: In veterans with baseline CPOU, postsurgical CPOU declined over time for each surgical procedure; these trends did not differ between surgical patients and nonsurgical controls. In veterans without baseline CPOU, compared with nonsurgical controls, bariatric patients had higher CPOU incidence within 5 years after open Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (hazard ratio = 1.19; 95% confidence interval: 1.06-1.34) or laparoscopic open Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (hazard ratio = 1.22, 95% confidence interval: 1.06-1.41). Veterans undergoing laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy had higher CPOU incidence 1 to 5 years after surgery (hazard ratio = 1.28; 95% confidence interval: 1.05-1.56) than nonsurgical controls. CONCLUSIONS: Bariatric surgery was associated with greater risk of CPOU incidence in patients without baseline CPOU but was not associated with greater CPOU persistence.