Publication date: Feb 05, 2020
While heroin is a major contributor to the crisis, the increases in prescription painkillers account for greater than 50 percent of the increased opioid use.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 17 percent of Americans had at least one opioid prescription filled in 2017.
Thus, we must find ways to decrease the pain associated with surgery, find alternative medications to opioids and better educate our patients on expectations.
Randomized, blinded studies have revealed that pain relief was equal to or better than opioids with non-opioid IV medications.
The liver then breaks down the medication, especially acetaminophen, before it ever reaches the central blood stream and the pain receptors.
However, when these medications are given by IV, they bypass both the absorption and first pass issues, with 100 percent of the dose reaching the pain receptors.
The result is a far higher level of pain relief that the majority of patients report to be better than opioids.
By not waiting for the pain to get out of control and then having to ask for opioids, we dramatically decrease the need for supplemental pain medications.
Patients in the United States have a sevenfold higher rate of opioid prescriptions being filled post-op than patients who had the exact same surgery in Sweden, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
I am proud of Indiana Regional Medical Center and the support I have received as we continue on the journey to truly opioid-free surgery.
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