Majority of Patients Expect Opioids After Surgery

Despite campaigns by the therapy community, and the government, to loosen the grip of opioids in the U.S., patients still expect them after surgery.

Despite the mounting opioid crisis in the United States, a staggering 77% of patients expect opioids, such as morphine, fentanyl, and dilaudid, after surgery, according to a study presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting.

Researchers surveyed 503 adults who were scheduled to have surgery for the back, ear-nose-and-throat, abdomen, or hip or knee replacement. Survey results showed that all 503 patients expected to receive pain medication after surgery—77% expected opioids, 37% expected acetaminophen, and 18% expected a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

“Patients often assume they will receive opioids for pain, believing they are superior, and therefore may pressure physicians to prescribe them after surgery. But research shows opioids often aren’t necessarily more effective. Clearly, we need to provide more education to bridge that gap and help patients understand that there are many options for pain relief after surgery, including other pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.” Nirmal B. Shah, D.O., lead author of the study and an anesthesia resident at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, is quoted as saying.

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