77% of orthopedic surgery patients report unused opioids: 5 points

Opioid use is a pervasive problem and many Americans abuse and misuse these prescription medications daily. Medscape published a study's findings analyzing the number of patients reporting they had unused opioids.

Researchers analyzed six studies, encompassing 810 patients and seven types of surgical procedures.

Here's what you should note:

1. General surgery patients had the highest percentage of unused opioids at 92 percent.

2. Ninety-one percent of dental surgery patients and 90 percent of Cesarean delivery patients had unused opioids, followed by dermatological surgery patients at 89 percent.

3. Seventy-seven percent of orthopedic surgery patients reported unused opioids.

4. Overall, surgical patients had not used between 42 percent and 71 percent of opioid tablets.

5. Between 16 percent and 19 percent of surgical patients cited opioid-induced averse effects as why they ceased using opioids.

Based on these findings, researches concluded, "Increased efforts are needed to develop and disseminate best practices to reduce the oversupply of opioids after surgery, especially given how commonly opioid analgesics prescribed by clinicians are diverted for non-medical use and may contribute to opioid-associated injuries and deaths."

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