Shorter hospital stays and reduced costs possible with IV acetaminophen

May 10, 2016

A new study has found that use of acetaminophen injection and reduced use of opioids to treat acute surgical pain can save a medium-sized hospital an estimated $4.7 million annually.

The use of Ofirmev (acetaminophen) injection and reduced opioid use to treat acute surgical pain resulted in an estimated annual $4.7 million in cost savings per medium-sized hospital, according to a new study.

See also: When IV acetaminophen costs skyrocketed, this health system did some new math

Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals announced the results of its retrospective analysis at the 41st Annual Regional
Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine Meeting in New Orleans in late March.

George Wan“The shorter length of stays, reduction in potential opioid-related complications and cost savings shown in this analysis provide important data regarding the pharmacoeconomic value of reduced levels of opioids and Ofirmev for surgeons, pharmacists, and hospital administrators looking for possible ways to improve patient outcomes and solutions to contain costs,” said George Wan, PhD, MPH, investigator for the study and vice president of health economics and outcomes research at Mallinckrodt.

The study

Mallinckrodt’s analysis evaluated data from The Advisory Board Company’s database of more than 2.2 million anonymous adult inpatient surgical admissions across 297 U.S. hospitals from 2012 to 2014.

See also: The pharmacist's role in preventing acetaminophen overdose

The non-comparative, retrospective analysis modeled length of stay as well as potential opioid-related complications and related costs. The analysis was based on annual impact for a “medium-sized” hospital (100-399 beds) among surgical patients where there was both a one-level reduction in opioid use (high to medium, medium to low, or low to none) and the use of IV acetaminophen therapy to help manage acute surgical pain. This included patients undergoing cardiovascular, colorectal, general, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedics and spine surgeries.

Mallinckrodt found an average 18% reduction in length of stay for the modeled scenario with an estimated annual cost savings of $4.5 million; an average reduction in modeled complication rates of 28.5% with an estimated annual cost savings of $200,000; and, in aggregate, an estimated annual $4.7 million in lowered costs per medium-sized hospital.

“While the use of opioids has been a mainstay for acute pain management in hospitals, data from this analysis suggests that Ofirmev coupled with a one-level reduction in opioid use (high to medium, medium to low, or low to none) can be incorporated as part of a multimodal analgesia approach to acute pain management, which may contribute to reduced costs and improved outcomes for surgical patients,” Wan said.