Medical professionals who prescribe opioid painkillers are looking for alternatives for their patients as health officials try to address an epidemic that kills tens of thousands of people annually.
Combining the painkiller acetaminophen (Tylenol), the anti-inflammatory naproxen (Aleve), and the proton-pump inhibitor pantoprazole (Protonix), which is used to treat gastrointestinal problems, might be a quick and easy method to manage pain after minimally invasive knee or shoulder surgery.
The scores for pain alleviation, patient satisfaction, and adverse events were comparable between these drugs and conventional therapy, which includes opioids. These medications also helped patients get counselling about pain and the dangers of opioids.
We were impressed by the high patient satisfaction rates with no discernible difference, and we believe that we are helping to lessen the problems associated with the use of opioids in general.
The majority of the doctors who participated in the informal poll prescribed opioids to their patients in varied dosages. The researchers pondered if it would be possible to standardise lowering post-operative opioid use.
One of Hamilton’s three hospitals provided care for the 193 individuals who were the subject of the study. 95 patients were given the combination of naproxen, acetaminophen, and pantoprazole whereas 98 patients in a “control group” got opioid medicines.
People in the non-opioid group were informed about the study and counselled that pain is a component of the post-surgery experience. They were allowed to request painkillers for acute pain.
Following minimally invasive knee or shoulder surgery, patients were observed by doctors for six weeks.
Patients in the control group consumed 72.6 mg of opioids on average as opposed to 8.4 mg in the opioid-sparing group. After being discharged, six patients in the control group and two in the sparing group both requested medicine.
Surgeons can aid in the fight against the opioid crisis. Between 2006 and 2016, orthopaedic doctors in the US carried out more than 1 million procedures. Every year, at least 100,000 orthopaedic procedures are performed in Canada.
Not only may prescribing fewer opioids reduce opioid dependence, but it could also reduce the stock of unneeded drugs in a community. These drugs could be taken, mistakenly consumed by small children, or distributed by teens.
The pharmaceutical industry, which it claims told the medical community in the 1990s that patients would not become addicted on these painkillers, is blamed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a portion of the opioid problem. The medications proved to be extremely addicting.
There is less need for harsher painkillers as orthopaedic operations have improved and become less intrusive. The prescription techniques that surgeons taught in medical school still lag behind.
Physicians should be aware that one in eight patients develop a painkiller addiction.
The study’s emphasis on arthroscopic surgery restricts its conclusions. Patients who underwent more extensive open procedures, those who are allergic to these over-the-counter medications, or those who currently use medication for chronic pain may see varied results.