Researchers analyzed an insurance database to study more than 124,000 children and teens who underwent one of eight common surgical procedures from 2014 to 2019. The procedures included tonsillectomies, dental surgeries, appendix removal and knee surgery.
They found the percentage of teens who had an opioid prescription filled after surgery decreased from 78.2% to 48%. Among school-aged children, filled prescriptions decreased from 53.9% to 25.5%, and from 30.4% to 11.5% for preschool children. The average strength of the prescription declined by 50% among all age groups.
“Our findings demonstrate that pain treatment for children and adolescents undergoing surgery has changed dramatically over the past 5 years,” study author Mark Neuman, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, said in a news release.