After a surgery, one of the fastest and most effective ways to counteract the pain of recovery is through opioid prescription medicines. However, in a time where opioid use is at an all-time high, physicians need to be more careful about how they prescribe them. In the three months following surgery, surgeons and primary care doctors fill 82% of the prescriptions in that time for opioids. Michael Klueh of the University of Michigan suggested in the Journal of General Internal Medicine that there needs to be better coordination between medical professionals who prescribe medicine to affect the opioid overprescription crisis.
Exposure to opioids is ubiquitous in surgical care in the US, and over-prescription is a common occurrence following operations. This has its drawbacks, as the long-term use of such medication can lead to addiction. A recent study showed that up to seven per cent of all patients who were prescribed such painkillers following surgery develop a persistent habit.
“Millions of Americans each year are continuing opioid use beyond the normal recovery period of 90 days after a surgical procedure,” explains Klueh.
Klueh and his colleagues analyzed a national dataset of insurance claims filed by patients between 18 and 64 years old who had undergone surgical procedures between 2008 and 2014. All had received opioid drugs as a form of pain relief for the first time in their lives. In all, the researchers identified 5276 patients who had developed persistent drug habits and continued filing opioid prescriptions three to six months after their operations had taken place — Click Here to Continue Reading
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