laparoscopic cholecystectomy, opioid, medication disposal, prescription, education


Purpose: To examine opioid prescription practices, patient use of opioids after laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and patient knowledge about disposal of unused medication.

Design: Mixed methods design with a chart review and structured phone interview.

Methods: Thirty-four patients were interviewed by phone and asked how many opioids were prescribed, how many excess pills they had 6 to 10 days postoperatively, and if they knew how to dispose of them.

Findings: Average number of excess pills ranged from 0 to 42 (mean = 14; SD = 11.7). Nearly half of patients (47%) perceived the prescribed quantity as “too many.” Seventy-one percent of patients using opioids for 5 days or less and 88% did not recall any instruction about medication disposal.

Conclusions: Patients often have excess prescribed opioids after laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and they do not understand proper disposal of unused medications. Education about proper disposal of unused opioids medications is a key role of perianesthesia.

Original Publication Citation

Merrill, K. C., Haslam, V. C., Luthy, K. E. B., & Nuttall, C. (2019). Educating patients about opioid disposal: A key role for perianesthesia nurses. Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing





University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor

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Other Nursing Commons