Millions of Americans Become Chronic Opioid Users After Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chad M. Brummett, MD Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Dr. Brummett

Chad M. Brummett, MD
Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The opioid epidemic has received considerable attention, but most of the focus has been on chronic pain and primary care. However, surgeons prescribe ~40% of the opioids in the US, and little attention has been given to the importance of prescribing after surgery.

In this study, we found that among patients not using opioids in the year prior to surgery, ~6% of patients continued to use opioids long after what would be considered normal surgical recovery. Furthermore, there was no difference between patients undergoing minor and major surgeries, thereby suggesting that some patients continue to use opioids for reasons other than pain related to surgery.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The opioid epidemic is a major public health crisis. These data suggest that millions of Americans each year become chronic opioid users after surgery. Addressing appropriate opioid management after surgery offers a novel preventative model to address the opioid crisis.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: More detailed data about patient characteristics and actual patient usage of opioids after surgery are needed. Opioids are helpful after surgery and for other types of acute pain. Hence, future research is needed to ensure that we continue to appropriately treat patients’ acute pain needs while preventing long-term problems.

No relevant disclosures.

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Citation:

New Persistent Opioid Use After Minor and Major Surgical Procedures in US Adults
Chad M. Brummett, MD; Jennifer F. Waljee, MD, MPH, MS; Jenna Goesling, PhD; Stephanie Moser, PhD; Paul Lin, MS; Michael J. Englesbe, MD; Amy

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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