Many Still on Opioids Six Months After Total Joint Arthroplasty
Study findings highlight growing epidemic
FRIDAY, June 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A significant number of patients continue to take prescription opioids many months after joint replacement surgery, according to a study published in the June issue of Pain.
Researchers looked at 574 patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery. About 30 percent of the patients were taking opioids before their surgery.
Among this group, 53.3 percent of knee patients and 34.7 percent of hip patients were still taking the medications six months after their surgery. The investigators also found that among patients who did not take opioids prior to having surgery, 8.2 percent of knee patients and 4.3 percent of hip patients were still taking the medications six months after receiving their joint replacement. The strongest predictor of long-term opioid use was taking high doses of the drugs before joint replacement surgery.
"In conclusion, many patients taking opioids before surgery continue to use opioids after arthroplasty and some opioid-naive patients remained on opioids; however, persistent opioid use was not associated with change in joint pain," the authors write. "Given the growing concerns about chronic opioid use, the reasons for persistent opioid use and perioperative prescribing of opioids deserve further study."