Addiction Risk: No One Opioid Safer Than Other After Surgery Interview with:

Marilyn M. Heng, MD, MPH, FRCSCOrthopaedic Trauma SurgeonAssistant Professor of Orthopaedic SurgeryHarvard Medical School

Dr. Heng

Marilyn M. Heng, MD, MPH, FRCSC
Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study?  

Response: The ultimate background for this study does come from the larger context of the opioid epidemic that is seen worldwide but particularly in North America. Orthopaedic surgeons should take responsibility as being among the top prescribers of opioids.

The more specific background that led to this specific study was the observation that several colleagues would insist that a drug like hydromorphone was so dangerous that they would not prescribe it but seemed okay prescribing large amounts of oxycodone.  It seemed like an urban myth that the type of opioid was what made it dangerous, so that led us to do the study to see if there was evidence for that.  Continue reading

Family Members of Patients Prescribed Opioids More Likely To Fill Opioid Prescriptions Themselves Interview with:
“Pills” by Victor is licensed under CC BY 2.0Marissa J. Seamans, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Mental Health
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD 21205 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Many patients report sharing their prescriptions for opioids with family members. What we didn’t know is whether family members of opioid users are more likely to fill opioid prescriptions themselves than family members of non-opioid users. Our study found that the 1-year risk of prescription opioid initiation among family members of prescription opioid users was an absolute 0.71% higher than among family members of non-opioid users. The risks were particularly higher for initial prescriptions with refills or longer days supply.

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Fewer Patients Receiving Opioids Alone Following Hip or Knee Replacement Interview with:
Philipp Gerner

MD Candidate – Class of 2018
University of Massachusetts Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over 1 million patients undergo total joint replacement surgery in the United States alone every year, with many experiencing significant pain postoperatively. These procedures often require large amounts of pain medication to keep patients comfortable, which historically has been treated with opioids. Currently, increasing awareness of safe opioid prescribing has created an increased interest in other ways to effectively treat post-operative pain without the dangers and side-effects of opioids.

As part of an analysis of the impact of multimodal pain management (i.e. multiple drug classes or procedures to treat post-operative pain) and opioid usage, we conducted this study to considered how trends have changed over the last 10 years. Our data shows that opioid use for post-operative pain has declined substantially in patients undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasty (THA & TKA), two very common and often painful orthopedic procedures. Patients being treated with opioids alone for THA decreased from 47.6% in 2006 to 7.5% in 2016, with similar trends being seen in TKA patients.

Importantly, our data also showed that patients are increasingly being treated with a multimodal approach to pain control; especially patients being treated with 3 or more different pain modalities increased sharply in the last 10 years for both procedures in our study. This allows patients the benefit of managing their pain without many of the side-effect associated with large doses of a single pain medication. This trend was found to be especially true in small and medium sized hospitals, compared to larger hospitals. With increasing emphasis on limiting opioid use, this data shows us that the medical community is actively pursuing alternate possibilities for successfully treating post-operative pain.

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Cannabidiol Reduces Fear and Anxiety in Various Preclinical Models Interview with:
Carl Stevenson, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
BSc Animal Science Admissions Tutor
Local Group Rep, British Neuroscience Association
School of Biosciences
University of Nottingham
Loughborough, UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders can be serious forms of mental illness that are not always treated effectively by psychological therapies or medications. One strategy to enhance their treatment is to boost the effects of psychological therapy by combining it with medication.

This study reviewed the literature on the effects of cannabidiol, a chemical found in the cannabis plant, in preclinical models of these disorders. Cannabidiol is safe to use in humans and doesn’t cause the ‘high’ associated with cannabis. This means that cannabidiol might be useful for treating certain symptoms without the unwanted side effects linked to medical cannabis.

Our review confirmed that cannabidiol reduces fear and anxiety in various preclinical models, when given on its own or in conjunction with behavioural interventions that model psychological treatment for anxiety-related disorders. This could show that exploring the option of cbd for anxiety could be a step forward in treating the condition. Our review suggested that it can also reduce relapse in some preclinical models of addiction, although research looking at the effects of cannabidiol in substance abuse disorders is still in its infancy.

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