Despite crisis, patients take opioids after surgery

Even with concerns about addiction, side effects and the other risks of opioids are dominating headlines. A study found that people expect to be prescribed opioids and perceive them to be the most effective form of pain relief after surgery. Interestingly, it was also found that opioids led to complications such as increased pain, poorer quality of life and dependence following back surgery. While opioids may effectively relieve pain after surgeries and procedures, they may not be the best option in all cases. Opioids can be highly addictive and carry some risks and side effects, such as sleepiness, constipation, and nausea, as well as life-threatening shallow breathing and slowed heart rate, which may indicate an overdose. In the first study, researchers set out to understand the expectations of pain management after surgery. They gave a 13-question survey to 503 adults who were scheduled to have surgery for the back, ear-nose-and-throat, abdomen, or hip or knee replacement. Everyone responded that they expected to receive pain medication after surgery. 77 percent expected opioids, such as morphine, fentanyl, and Dilaudid. 37 percent expected acetaminophen, such as Tylenol while 18 percent expected a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), such as Motrin.