(Mirror Daily, United States) – The latest study has shown that many patients keep on taking strong prescription opioid painkillers several months after joint replacement surgery.
These statistics are concerning because joint replacement surgery has become more popular leading to a higher rate of opioid overdoses in the United States. Usual prescriptions of opioid painkillers are drugs like Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin.
Furthermore, the real death cause of music legend Prince was a strong synthetic opioid painkiller, known as fentanyl. According to some sources, the artist suffered severe hip pain because of intense acrobatics performed during his concerts over the years.
Some 574 patients undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery were observed during the study. Scientists established that around 30 percent of them were taking possibly addictive opioid painkillers before the surgery. Plus, among this group, 35 percent of hip patients and 53 percent of knee patients were still taking the drugs six months after the surgery.
Moreover, the researchers discovered that 4 percent of hip patients and 8 percent of knee patients were still taking the drugs six months after the joint replacement, despite the fact that they did not take opioids before the surgery.
According to these results, some patients continue to rely on opioids in spite of the improvements in their knee or hip pain. It means that the use of these drugs is based on addiction rather than reducing pain.
Plus, some patients who did not rely on opioids before having surgery will become addicted to them after receiving the joint replacement. Furthermore, Jenna Goesling, a researcher from the University of Michigan in Ann Harbor, underlined that the use of painkillers after joint replacement surgery has critically increased in the United States.
Scientists believe that everyone’s target should be to find a better way of helping patients after joint replacement surgeries and to encourage them to stop using opioids. Therefore, a pain management program should be developed to establish which type of medication would be ideal to replace the high use of opioids.
Still, further research is needed in order to determine how patients would react to other types of medication. All in all, addiction to opioids must be stopped. Hopefully, scientists and researchers will find a solution as soon as possible.
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