Patterns of prescription opioid use before total hip and knee replacement among US Medicare enrollees

Y. Jin, D. H. Solomon, P. D. Franklin, Y. C. Lee, J. Lii, J. N. Katz, S. C. Kim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine patterns of prescription opioid use before total joint replacement (TJR) and factors associated with continuous use of opioids before TJR. Design: We conducted an observational cohort study among Medicare enrollees aged ≥65 years who underwent TJR between 2010 and 2014. Preoperative opioid use was defined as having any opioid prescription in the 12-month period before TJR. Patients who had an opioid prescription every month for a 12-month period were defined as continuous users. We examined patients’ demographics, pain-related conditions, medication use, other comorbidities, healthcare utilization and their association with use of opioids before TJR. Results: A total of 473,781 patients underwent TJR:,155,516 THR and 318,265 TKR. Among the total cohort, 60.2% patients had any use of opioids and of those, 12.4% used opioids at least once a month continuously over the 12-month baseline period. Correlates of continuous opioid use included African American race (OR = 2.14, 95% confidence intervals (CI) = 2.01–2.28, compared to White patients), history of drug abuse (OR = 5.18, 95% CI = 3.95–6.79) and back pain (OR = 2.32, 95% CI = 2.24–2.39). Conclusions: In this large cohort of patients undergoing TJR, over 60% ever used opioids and 12.4% of them continuously used opioids in the 12-month prior to surgery. Utilization of opioids became more frequent and high-dosed near the surgery. History of drug abuse, back pain, and African American race were strongly associated with continuous use of opioids preoperatively. Further research is needed to determine short-term and long-term risks of preoperative use of opioids in TJR patients and to optimize pre- and post-TJR pain management of patients with arthritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1445-1453
Number of pages9
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Opioids
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Total joint replacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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