Prolonged Opioid Use After Surgery Most Likely Due To Factors Other Than Pain

Prolonged Opioid Use After Surgery Most Likely Due To Factors Other Than Pain

Article Date: 30 Aug 2012 – 11:00 PDT


According to a study in the September issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS), the risk of continuing to use strong pain-relieving drugs many months after surgery increases with non-pain related factors, such as previous use of pain medications, symptoms of depression, and high perceived risk of addiction.

Dr. Ian Carroll of Stanford University and lead author, said: “Each of these factors was a better predictor of prolonged opioid use than postoperative pain duration or severity.”

In order to recognize preoperative factors that predict continued use of opioid drugs long after an operation, the experts analyzed factors associated with long-term use of strong pain medications in 109 patients who were undergoing various types of operation, such as chest surgery, breast cancer surgery, or joint replacement. 

Patients were evaluated before undergoing surgery for factors that the researchers believed could potentially influence the use of pain medications.

After the procedure finished, each patient underwent regular assessment of their use of opioid medications, such as morphine and other associated drugs.

Five months after operation, 6% of the subjects still had a doctor’s order to take opioid drugs.

After adjusting for other factors, scientists discovered 3 factors that were independently related to long-term opioid use: Read More…

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