The following article features coverage from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting. Click here to read more of MPR‘s conference coverage.

For patients undergoing benign oropharyngeal surgery, adding prednisone to the pain regimen may result in less opioid use, according to a study presented at the AAO-HNS 2021 Annual Meeting, held October 3-6 in Los Angeles, California.

In an effort to reduce the reliance on opioids for postoperative pain, the study authors recruited 69 patients who underwent tonsillectomy, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, or expansion sphincter pharyngoplasty to investigate alternative pain management strategies.

The postoperative pain management cocktail varied between providers, though all patients received a regimen that included an opioid (liquid oxycodone), acetaminophen, gabapentin, and magic mouthwash. Patients who received steroids (n=57) were prescribed a prednisone taper.

The main outcome measures of the study were postoperative amount of narcotic used and pain scores on days 0, 1, 5, and 10 after the surgery.

Results showed that pain scores on each postoperative day were not significantly different between patients who did and did not receive a prednisone taper (P =.14). Patients who received a prednisone taper were found to use significantly less narcotic (21.31% less morphine milligram equivalent [MME]) compared with those who did not (P =.07).

“Results to date revealed that the addition of prednisone to postoperative pain regimens reduced MME consumption without increased pain scores or refill rates,” the study authors stated.


Sagalow E, Butkus J, Alfonsi S, Rosen D, Boon M, Huntley CT. Prednisone decreases opioid use in patients receiving benign oropharyngeal surgery. Presented at: AAO-HNS 2021 Annual Meeting; October 3-6, 2021; Los Angeles, CA.