Oct. 11, 2021 – Researchers said people who have not previously taken opioid medications may not be aware of their potential for misuse and addiction.

Luther said clinicians need to educate their patients about these risks, and patients have an obligation to learn about the potential and warning signs of opioid use disorder.

Opioid misuse may include taking more medication than the prescribed dose, continuing use past the point where pain has diminished, or taking medication for its psychological impact rather than to prevent physical pain.

“The more than 100 million surgeries in the U.S. every year create an unintended and alarming gateway to long-term opioid use,” said Dr. Gia Pittet, lead study author and a visiting graduate researcher for anesthesiology and perioperative medicine at UCLA. 

Pittet said the findings show that “the management of opioid administration during the postoperative period needs to extend well beyond the hospital stay,” including coordination between the patient’s surgical team and primary care physician.


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