Study Shows Patients Need Less Opioids After Some Operations

dhmcA new study shows patients need less opioid pain medications after some surgeries. The study done by researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) estimates patients actually need only 43 percent of the opioid pain medications they are generally prescribed and that surgeons can reduce the number of narcotics patients usually receive.

Richard J. Barth, Jr., MD, chief of General Surgery at D-H said “Patients are being given too many opioid pills and are only taking about 28 percent of what is prescribed.  The research offers new recommendations for appropriate prescriptions for five common general surgical procedures, including breast surgeries, hernia repairs and gallbladder surgery.

Barth and colleagues offer this advice: By incorporating these findings into practice it will be possible to both adequately treat patients postoperative pain and decrease the amount of unused opioid pills available for misuse, abuse or diversion.

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