Opioid Use Often Continues After Bariatric Surgery

For chronic opioid users, dose often increases after surgery

Opioid Use Often Continues After Bariatric Surgery

TUESDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Among chronic opioid users who undergo bariatric surgery, about three-quarters continue chronic opioid use after surgery, with an increase in opioid dose, according to a study published in the Oct. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Marsha A. Raebel, Pharm.D., from Kaiser Permanente Colorado in Denver, and colleagues retrospectively analyzed opioid use in 11,719 adults before and after undergoing bariatric surgery from 2005 to 2009.

The researchers found that 8 percent of patients were chronic opioid users before surgery, and 77 percent of these continued chronic opioid use in the year after surgery. Among these patients, mean daily morphine equivalents significantly increased after surgery, and this change was unaffected by change in body mass index. Changes in morphine equivalents were unaffected by a diagnosis of depression or pain before surgery.

"These findings suggest the need for better pain management in these patients following surgery," Raebel and colleagues conclude.

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