Study Shows a Feasible Opioid-Sparing Strategy
Newswise — The opioid epidemic has become a public health crisis in the U.S. While primary care physicians have been writing fewer opioid prescriptions over the last several years, new opioid prescriptions by surgeons increased 18 percent from 2010-2016. However, many surgeons are now diligently working to change their prescribing practices. One approach has been to try reducing excessive opioid prescriptions by exploring pain management strategies that include fewer or no opioids at all for surgical patients.
One study team at the University of Michigan wanted to find out if an opioid-sparing strategy would be feasible for patients undergoing six different procedures at their institution. Results from their pilot study showed that more than half of patients used no opioids after their operations, and almost all of the patients reported their pain was manageable, according to study findings published as an “article in press” on the website of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons ahead of print.
The study team, led by Michael Englesbe, MD, FACS, has been working to improve opioid prescribing in Michigan for two years. Their work is motivated by the fact that many people not taking opioids before their operations (“opioid-naïve”) become new chronic opioid users after their operations, said Dr. Englesbe, the study’s corresponding author and a professor of surgery at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
“We think a fundamental root cause of the…
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