TUESDAY, May 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Mailed at-home disposal kits increase self-reported opioid disposal rates after common surgical procedures, according to a research letter published online May 6 in JAMA Network Open.

Anish K. Agarwal, M.D., from University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues assessed the effect of a mailed at-home disposal kit on disposal rates of unused opioids after surgery. Analysis included 302 adults undergoing an orthopedic or urologic procedure and prescribed an opioid who replied through a text messaging platform. The patients were randomly assigned to a mailed at-home disposal kit or usual care with a text message hyperlink to nearby disposal locations.

The researchers found that participants were more likely than nonparticipants to be opioid naive (74.5 versus 63.4 percent).The intervention group had double the odds of self-reported disposal versus the usual care group. Among the participants who completed all questions, 42.7 percent in the usual care group self-reported disposal, compared with 60.0 percent in the intervention group. The intervention group disposed of an estimated additional 480 unused opioid tablets.

“Opioid disposal remains important, but motivating disposal remains challenging,” the authors write. “The demonstrated impact has high potential for a low-cost solution. The process of mailing the disposal kit is simple, inexpensive (approximately $1.50 per mailed kit), and scalable.”

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