At least two-thirds of the 810 patients in the study reported having leftover opioids after surgery
This Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin, arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont. Leftover opioids are a common dilemma for surgery patients; a study published Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, suggests that after several common operations most don't use all their pills and many store the remainders unsafely at home. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot), photo: AP/Toby Talbot
02 of August 2017 15:16:51
CHICAGO – Surgery patients often end up with leftover opioid painkillers and store the remaining pills improperly at home, a study suggests.The research raises concerns about overprescribing addictive medicine that could end in the wrong hands.Uncertainty among doctors about how much medicine patients really need after common operations contributes to the problem. Many patients also don't know how to safely get rid of unused medications, said lead researcher Dr. Mark Bicket, a Johns Hopkins anesthesiologist.Here are some key things to know:THE FINDINGSBicket and colleagues reviewed six studies involving 810 patients. Surgeries included operations on the skin, lungs, shoulder and hands, cesarean sections and dental work.At least two-thirds of patients reported having leftover opioids afterward; often more than half the prescribed pills were unused. Most stopped taking the drugs because their pain had subsided, although a few said they stopped over concerns about addiction risks.Fewer than one-third had gotten rid of their leftover pills or had plans to; an even smaller number — fewer than 10 percent — had considered or followed proper ways to dispose of the narcotics.The study was published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery.
OTHER OPTIONSDoctors should consider smaller opioid doses depending on each patient's needs, Bicket said. Pain relief options other than opioids, including over-the-counter pain relievers and exercise, should also be considered after surgery, he said.
These drugs can be especially harmful so expediency is key to preventing accidental ingestion by others. https://t.co/mSVefY3i47— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) 1 de junio de 2017