Many Hip and Knee Replacement Patients Take Opioid Painkillers Months After Surgery

Many Hip and Knee Replacement Patients Take Opioid Painkillers Months After Surgery
Many patients who have undergone knee or hip replacement surgery are still taking prescription opioid painkillers up to six months after the operation, a new study finds. Some patients continue to use potentially addictive pain medications even though their hip or knee pain has improved, the findings suggest. The study also suggests persistent opioid use after knee or hip replacement surgery may be more common than previously reported, the researchers said. Continued opioid use after joint replacement surgery is not necessarily related to pain in the affected joint, the researchers said. “We hypothesize that the reasons patients continue to use opioids may be due to pain in other areas, self-medicating affective distress, and therapeutic opioid dependence,” they wrote in the journal Pain. Researchers at the University of Michigan studied opioid use in 574 patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery, Science Daily reports. They followed up with patients one, three and...
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Study Urges Caution in Giving Some Patients Opioids Before Knee Surgery

Study Urges Caution in Giving Some Patients Opioids Before Knee Surgery
A new study suggests that in some patients undergoing a total knee replacement, taking opioid painkillers before the operation may increase the risk of being on opioids much longer afterwards. The drugs may also increase the risk of complications after surgery, Medscape reports. Total knee replacement, or total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which parts of the knee joint are replaced with artificial parts. “Narcotic use can be dangerous. We need to understand how much to give and why we’re giving it,” lead researcher Robert Westermann, MD of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Iowa said at the recent American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2016 Annual Meeting. He added that initiatives that encourage orthopedic surgeons to decrease the use of opioids are needed. In his study, Dr. Westermann identified 112,569 patients who underwent total knee replacement from 2007 to 2014. Of these, 44 percent had no history...
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