Some Patients Taking Opioids for Post-Operative Pain at Risk for Long-Term Addiction

Some Patients Taking Opioids for Post-Operative Pain at Risk for Long-Term Addiction
Some patients prescribed opioids for pain relief after surgery may face a high risk for developing a long-term addiction to the medicine, a new study concludes. The study included more than 36,000 surgery patients, who were followed for six months. None had taken opioids before their surgery. The researchers found 5 to 6 percent of patients continued to fill prescriptions for opioids long after what would be considered normal surgical recovery, HealthDay reports. Rates of new chronic use did not differ between patients who had major or minor surgery, the researchers wrote in JAMA Surgery . This suggests patients continue to use these medications for something other than treating pain from surgery, they said. Risk of long-term opioid use was highest among smokers, patients who had struggled with alcohol and/or drug use in the past, those previously diagnosed with depression or anxiety, and those who had a history of chronic...
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Program Aims to Reduce Pain and Opioid Use After Surgery

Program Aims to Reduce Pain and Opioid Use After Surgery
Researchers at Stanford University are studying a pre-surgical online program that is designed to help patients better manage pain and reduce the use of opioid painkillers after surgery. The program, called “My Surgical Success,” helps patients develop a personalized pain-management plan to control the anxiety associated with anticipating surgical pain. The program teaches patients to dampen the pain processing in their nervous system, so they have more control over how much pain is impacting them and how much medicine they need to manage their post-surgical pain. “For many people, pain resolves after surgery, but there is a subset of patients for whom pain does not resolve,” says study lead researcher Beth Darnall, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor in the Division of Pain Medicine at Stanford University. “We need to figure out how to best meet their needs so they’re not taking opioids forever and are able to get back to meaningful...
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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,...
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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...
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