News ReleaseView printer-friendly version << Back
New Research: Opioid Addiction and Dependence After Surgery is Significantly Higher than Previously Known
Vast Majority of Surgeons Feel Pressure to Prescribe More Opioids than Patients Need
Professional Athlete Gabrielle Reece Joins Campaign to Promote Discussions Before Surgery about Non-Opioid Options for Pain Control
The rates of postsurgical opioid addiction and dependence are even higher for certain populations polled. Among younger people ages 18-29, the incidence is 15 percent*; for those living in the western region of the U.S., it soars to 18 percent.*
This research sheds new light on the causes of opioid addiction, which until now has primarily been focused on the use of opioids for treating patients with chronic pain. These findings indicate that even prescribing these drugs for short-term postsurgical pain can put patients at serious risk.
The survey polled 500 adults in the U.S. who had an orthopedic or soft tissue surgery in the past 12 months and 200 U.S. surgeons who perform these procedures. It was conducted by
“Although potent pain relievers, opioids have long been associated with a range of unwanted and potentially severe side effects that can delay the patient recovery process including nausea, vomiting, constipation, and even respiratory depression. Now, these findings shine a significant spotlight on the role their use after surgery can play in contributing to our nation’s tragic opioid epidemic—a factor that, to date, has not been a major focus of attention,” said T.J. Gan, M.D., an anesthesiologist and President of the
Despite Risks, Pressure to
According to the national survey, almost all surgeons polled (94 percent) say they frequently prescribe opioids to manage postsurgical pain. Alarmingly, 91 percent indicated they frequently feel pressure to prescribe more opioids than their patients actually need.
As part of the Affordable Care Act, performance scores on publicly reported patient satisfaction surveys, including questions on how well a patient’s pain is controlled, are used to determine a portion of a hospital’s reimbursement from the
“There’s no doubt that doctors are often caught in the middle of policy and patient demands that can place undue burden on their prescribing habits,” continued Dr. Gan. “Now, more than ever, it’s critical to better educate hospitals, clinicians and, most importantly, patients about effective non-opioid options so all of us have the knowledge needed to choose alternatives to minimize or avoid opioids whenever appropriate in the hospital setting.”
Choices Matter Launched to Foster Surgeon-Patient Dialogue
The overwhelming majority of patients surveyed were highly aware of the risks associated with opioids; nearly 90 percent were concerned about side effects, addiction, or dependence and 79 percent would prefer a non-opioid pain management option. However, less than a quarter of patients say they discussed non-opioid options with their clinicians prior to surgery.
Given the clear need to cultivate better communication between patients and surgeons regarding all available postsurgical pain treatments,
“I knew pain would be a natural part of the recovery process following my knee replacement operation. Even before my surgery, I made a personal decision to not rely too heavily on opioids to manage my symptoms,” said Ms. Reece. “It’s great to know that non-opioid options exist and that strong prescription painkillers aren’t the only way to manage pain after surgery. Ultimately we’re the number one cheerleaders for our health so asking questions is key. The more information we have about our options, the better we can collaborate with our doctors on a personalized plan that gets us back on our feet again as quickly and safely as possible after surgery.”
For more information about postsurgical pain management options, including a customizable guide to facilitate a surgeon-patient discussion, visit www.PlanAgainstPain.com.
The American Society for Enhanced Recovery is a nonprofit organization with an international membership, and is dedicated to promoting the practice of optimizing patient preparation and recovery through education and research.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/63084a2f-c001-4b95-a86f-3526cb2f587e
Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Amber Sears, (973) 254-3587 Amber.Sears@pacira.com Media Contact: Coyne Public Relations Alyssa Schneider, 973-588-2270 firstname.lastname@example.org