|Basic InformationLatest News|Taking Opioids Before Knee Surgery Could Raise Pain LaterERs May Need to Rethink Opioid Prescription PracticesCommon Painkillers Tied to Slight Rise in Heart Attack RiskOpioid Use by Iraq, Afghanistan War Vets Mirrors Rest of U.S.: Study'Mindfulness' Probably Won't Cure Your Back Pain: StudyExpectations, Concerns Vary With Age for Adults at Pain ClinicMusic May Soothe the 'Savage Beast' of Post-Op PainThis Fanged Fish Might Someday Help Ease Your PainSteroid Shots Offer No Long-Term Relief for Low-Back PainInitial Rx Can Affect Likelihood of Long-Term Opioid UseOpioid Dependence Can Start in Just a Few DaysOpioid Painkillers and Xanax or Valium a Deadly Mix: StudyDiazepam Not Beneficial for Acute Low Back Pain in ERKids' OD Risk Rises When Opioids Left Out at HomeChronic Pain More Likely for Poor, Less Educated: StudySome Docs May Help Fuel Opioid Abuse EpidemicTry Drug-Free Options First for Low Back Pain, New Guidelines SayTwelve Percent of Women Fill Opioid Rx After Vaginal DeliveryLow Back Pain? Relax, Breathe and Try YogaOpioids and Alcohol a Dangerous CocktailTreatment of Hips Beneficial in Patients With Low Back PainCommon Painkillers Don't Ease Back Pain, Study FindsHigh Pain Tolerance Tied to 'Silent' Heart Attack RiskWhat You Need to Know When Prescribed an Opioid PainkillerDiscussing Opioid Risks With Patients Reduces MisuseVitamin D Replacement Improves Chronic Widespread PainCelebrex May Not Pose Bigger Heart Risk Than Similar Drugs: StudyMany Take Opioids Reluctantly for Back Pain: Survey'Fake Pills' May Help Ease Back PainHealth Tip: Need Pain Relief?DEA Puts Quota on Production of Opioid PainkillersRisk of Opioid Addiction Up 37 Percent Among Young U.S. AdultsCould Prescribed NSAID Painkillers Raise Heart Failure Risk?Opioid Epidemic Costs U.S. $78.5 Billion Annually: CDCReview Suggests Safe, Effective Ways to Relieve Pain Without MedsFDA: Opioids Plus Sedatives Pose Fatal OD RiskNon-addictive Painkiller Shows Promise in Animal TrialsNighttime Sleep Disturbance Common in Chronic PainCannabis Provides More Pain Relief for Men Than WomenStudy Finds Links Between Chronic Pain, Depression in CouplesAddiction Risk Low for Seniors Taking Post-Op Opioids: StudyDoctors Urged to Prescribe Lower Doses of Opioids, No RefillsPain Raises Risk of Opioid AddictionCommon Surgeries Raise Risk for Opioid Dependence: StudyDoes Medical Marijuana Reduce Need for Other Meds?Programs to Spot Painkiller Abuse Work, But Are UnderusedTighter Opioid Laws in U.S. Haven't Eased MisuseLong-Acting Opioids May Increase Risk of All-Cause MortalityOpioid Painkillers Raise Deadly Heart Risks for Some: StudyPatients Often Prescribed Extra Painkillers, Many Share ThemQuestions and AnswersLinks
Addiction Risk Low for Seniors Taking Post-Op Opioids: Study
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Aug 10th 2016
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- With abuse of opioid painkillers a major public health threat in the United States, many worry that post-surgical use might trigger addiction.
But a new study suggests that painkiller abuse arises in only a very small fraction -- less than half of 1 percent -- of cases involving people aged 65 or older.
The rest of the surgical patients in the study used the drugs to ease their pain, and then stopped.
The findings provide "reassurance that the individual risk of long-term opioid use in [surgical patients new to the drugs] is low," according to a team led by Dr. Hance Clarke of Toronto Western Hospital in Canada.
Opioid medications -- drugs such as Oxycontin, Vicodin or Percocet -- are routinely used to treat pain after major surgery.
"In the short term, opioids can help in the facilitation of physical therapy and ambulation, including engaging in light physical activity," explained Dr. Ruchi Sharma. She is a pain management specialist at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.
However, addiction specialists also know that long-term use of opioids can lead to addiction.
How often is that the case? To find out, Clarke's team tracked rates of opioid use up to one year after major surgery for more than 39,000 patients aged 65 or older. All underwent surgery between 2003 and 2010, and none of the patients had taken an opioid painkiller before.
Surgeries included procedures such as lung surgery, heart bypass, colon surgery, hysterectomy and removal of the prostate. Fifty-three percent of the patients received one or more opioid prescriptions within 90 days after leaving the hospital.
One year after surgery, only 168 (0.4 percent) of the patients were still receiving a prescription for an opioid, the researchers reported. Lung surgery patients had the highest risk of long-term opioid use of any patient type.
However, even though the percentage of those who went on to use the meds long-term was small, their number may still be significant, one addiction specialist pointed out.
"With over 50 million major surgical procedures occurring in the United States annually, such low-risk issues can amplify their impact on the opioid epidemic," said Dr. Harshal Kirane. He directs addiction services at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.
Kirane believes the new study "provides insight into the actual nature of real-world opioid exposure." He suggested that the vast majority of older surgery patients are "at low-risk for developing opioid use issues following major surgery -- which supports [the notion that] opioid agents can be utilized safely."
The study was published online Aug. 10 in the journal JAMA Surgery.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about pain drugs.
This article: Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.