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Prescription drug abuse rates are rapidly increasing in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the U.S. makes up only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet it is responsible for the consumption of 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs. Abuse of prescription drugs occurs who the drug is taken in a manner other than its intended purpose such as to get high.

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07-26 Opioid abuse by patients can go on for 6 months after joint replacement surgery

Posted in Opioids by Rachael - 0 Comments
Opioid abuse by patients can go on for 6 months after joint replacement surgery

Any kind of replacement surgery, be it of hips or of knees, can be painful, considering the stiffness associated with the joints and the difficulty that the patient encounters in performing even the simplest of activities. As these surgeries are associated with excruciating post-surgery pain, patients continue to take painkillers prescribed to get relief.

A recent study by the University of Michigan revealed that patients who had undergone a surgery of the hip or knees continued to take opioids for a period extending as much as six months.

For the study, titled “Trends and predictors of opioid use after total knee and total hip arthroplasty,” the scientists examined opioid use patterns in 574 patients who were being operated upon for knee and hip replacement at the time of the study. After the surgery, the scientists measured the extent to which the patients abused opioids and the risk factors linked to abuse after the surgery.

People with no history of opioid use may also abuse it

Periodic observations were made at the end of one month, three months and six months after the surgery. In the study published online in the journal PAIN in June 2016, the researchers found that nearly 30 percent respondents had been taking opioids even before undergoing joint replacement surgery. Also, among these patients, approximately 53 percent patients who had undergone knee replacement operation and 35 percent of those who went through hip replacement surgery had been taking opioids even after six months of the procedure.

The findings of the study revealed that patients who did not take opioids prior to these surgeries had decreased chances of using opioids post-surgery, on a long-term basis. Also, nearly 8 percent patients who had undergone knee replacement surgery and 4 percent patients subjected to hip replacement surgery continued to consume opioids even after six months of the operation. Clearly, the results showed that people with no history of opioid use are also likely to get hooked on opioids following arthroplasty.

Increased post-surgery pain associated with elevated chance of opioid abuse

It was found that patients who had consumed high doses of opioids prior to the joint replacement surgery were more susceptible to opioid abuse. In fact, patients who took the highest amount of these drugs before surgery suffered an 80 percent risk of persistent opioid use at six months after surgery. Also, those who were reported to suffer from increased pain or anxiety on the day of the surgery were also at a greater risk of abusing opioids, despite not having used the drugs prior to the surgery.

Though decrease in the overall body pain resulted in reduced tendency of the patients to abuse opioids at six months, improvements in pain emanating from the knee or hip surgery did not reduce the chances of opioid use.

Seeking treatment

Knee or hip replacement surgeries are common now a days, but it does not mean that such surgeries necessarily contribute to unbridled opioid use. However, the researchers suggested that unrelenting use of opioids may be mainly due to pain in other areas of the body, self-medicating tendency of patients to treat emotions of distress and prescriptions written by doctors to ease pain of their patients.

Therefore, it is important to employ alternative measures of pain management for patients undergoing any kind of joint replacement surgery. The need of the hour is to develop and implement alternative therapeutic interventions to curb the use of opioids after surgeries. It is also important to educate people about the possible perils linked to opioid addiction.

If you or your loved one has been using opioids, it is important that you seek immediate medical assistance. The Colorado Prescription Abuse Helpline can help you get more information about the best prescription drug rehab centers in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-922-5915 or chat online with our experts for further advice on prescription opioid rehabilitation centers in Colorado.