Not all are able to withstand the pain that accompanies a major surgery. Opioids are used to treat many diseases, but they are mostly used for the treatment of pain. A recent study by the Stanford University School of Medicine has revealed that patients who had undergone 11 of the most common types of surgical operations were more likely to engage in prolonged use of prescription painkillers.
For the study, titled “Incidence of and Risk Factors for Chronic Opioid Use Among Opioid-Naive Patients in the Postoperative Period,” the researchers aimed to examine and measure the potential risks associated with persistent use of opioids by people enduring the pain associated with one of 11 kinds of most common surgeries.
Patients with knee surgery face highest risk of getting hooked on opioids
In the study published online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in July 2016, the scientists observed that patients who had undergone knee surgery faced the highest risk of getting hooked on opioids, since they had nearly five times greater risk of abusing opioids, when compared with the control group. They were followed by patients who had undergone a gall bladder surgery and were at a 3.5 times greater risk of using opioids than patients in the control group.
The researchers also observed a greater risk among women who had undergone a cesarean section, with the risk of opioid abuse being 28 percent more than the control group. Considering other factors that led to opioid abuse, the scientists said that some of the factors like being male and elderly, using antidepressants, or abusing drugs also acted as major contributors to this devastating habit.
For the research purposes, the scientists assessed health claims filed by 641,941 patients, aged between 18 and 64 years old, who had not been prescribed opioids before the surgery. They were then compared with nearly 18 million non-surgical patients who were not prescribed opioid painkillers for a minimum of one year. The claims of the patients filed from 2001 to 2013 had been made available by Marketscan.
It was observed that barring minor surgeries that did not involve critical pain, all the 11 types of surgeries the respondents had undergone involved increasing the chances of opioid use. Commenting on the findings, lead study author Dr. Eric Sun, an instructor in anesthesiology at Stanford, said, “For a lot of surgeries there is a higher chance of getting hooked on painkillers.”
Lesson to learn
Though surgical procedures are mostly associated with excruciating pain, it does not mean that people should avoid going under the knife even if required, said the researchers. However, the findings clearly indicated the rising opioid epidemic that has claimed millions of lives and need to be checked at the earliest.
It is important for doctors to limit prescriptions for opioids in patients recovering from surgeries and look for alternative pain therapies, especially for those who are vulnerable to opioid addiction. Prescribing opioids more than what is required only encourages patients to go doctor shopping to get their prescription medications refilled, fueling opioid epidemic across America.
More than 28,000 people died due to opioid-related deaths in 2014 alone, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thus, it is important for caregivers to help people combat this deadly habit by incorporating more appropriate ways to manage pain.
If you or your loved one is suffering from a prescription drug abuse problem, you must seek help of one of the reputed prescription drug abuse treatment centers in America. The Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline can guide you to the effective treatment programs and facilities. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-450-1557 or chat online for further expert advice on the prescription drug treatment clinics in USA.