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Rothman Studies Shows Less Need for Opioids in Hand Surgery



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According to two new studies conducted at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, preoperative counseling and administration of non-opioid pain relievers resulted in overall less need for opioids to manage pain after hand surgery.

The studies, presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), showed that patients who received counseling and non-opioid medications experienced similar pain relief and benefit with less adverse events than those who were given opioids.

The goal of the study “is to find mechanisms to prescribe opioids more carefully, while also evaluating strategies that can ultimately reduce patients’ need for them, and ultimately decrease the rate and risk of abuse and addiction,” says Asif Ilyas, MD, lead author, program director of the Hand Surgery Fellowship at the Rothman Institute and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.

The most surprising result of the study was that there was a two-thirds reduction in opioid use with counseling alone. Once patients were made aware of the risks, benefits, and the safest ways to take opioids, they sought and pursued alternatives. In addition, the actual pain experience was no different between the study groups.

In addition, the study found that there was no difference in pain experience and pill consumption whether a patient received oxycodone, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen.