Patients Expect Opioids After Surgery, Crisis or Not

Contributing Editor

Surgery patients expect their physicians will prescribe opioids to manage recovery pain, and they perceive these highly addictive drugs as superior to all others despite growing concerns about addiction and side effects, reveals a new study presented at the Anesthesiology 2018 annual meeting in San Francisco.

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia surveyed 503 adults scheduled to have surgery for their back; ear, nose, or throat; abdomen; or hip or knee replacement. Of them, 77 percent expected to receive opioids such as morphine, fentanyl, and dilaudid. Nearly all patients who assumed they would be prescribed opioids thought they would be effective, as did 67.5 percent of patients who didn’t expect to receive opioid pain killers.

Researchers said they need to do a better job educating patients about all of their pain management options, noting that few patients mentioned concerns about potentially dangerous side effects of opioids, including respiratory problems, addiction, and slowed heart rate.

Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists