Study: Surgeons now prescribing less opioid medications post-surgery

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KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

​​​​By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There is good news from a study performed at the University of Michigan. 

According to researchers looking at prescription data from over 11,000 patients in 43 hospitals, surgeons are prescribing less opioid medications after surgery than they have in the past. 

One of the leading causes of the present opioid epidemic has been a preponderance of prescriptions of opioids after surgical procedures. With a growing number of studies showing that people can be addicted to opioids in a very short period of time, there has been a concerted effort to prescribe either nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or acetaminophen products after surgery. 

Both of these options provide pain relief without the narcotic impact. 

According to the study, there are still situations where opioid medications are necessary, but they are not nearly as common as once believed, and physicians are making changes, with many patients reluctant to take them.