New research shows that most patients need fewer opioid pain medication after postsurgical discharge

A new research reveals that most patients need little or no opioid pain medication after a postsurgical discharge. This study was published in JAMA Network Open and describes an ultra-restrictive approach to prescribing opioid for post-surgical patients intended to curb the overall number of pills dispensed.

Under the protocol, patients got not more than a three-day supply of opioid pain medication. In case of ambulatory or minimally invasive surgeries, patients only received that limited prescription of opioid if they required more than five doses during the 24 hours before they got discharged.

Doctors have taken numerous efforts recently to reduce the number of opioid pain medications they prescribe. Over-prescribing opioid pain medications lead to more diversion of pills, making them easier for existing addicts to get their hands on. It also puts a part of the population at risk for developing an opioid addiction, according to Emese Zsiros, M.D., Ph.D., who works at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, and served as lead author on the study.

Zsiros says that resistance from patients and surgeons is the main factor that has kept more restrictive prescribing practices at bay.

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