Several hip or knee replacement patients are still taking prescription opioids up to six months after surgery, according to a study published in PAIN, the official publication of the International Association for the Study of Pain.
Researchers analyzed patterns of opioid use in 574 patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery. They followed up with patients at one month, three months and six months after surgery.
Here are five insights:
1. Around 30 percent of the patients were taking opioids before their joint replacement surgery. Of this group, 53 percent of knee replacement patients and 35 percent of hip replacement patients were still taking opioids at six months after surgery.
2. Patients who were not taking opioids prior to surgery were less likely to report persistent opioid use.
3. Additionally, the estimated probability of persistent opioid use at six months was 80 percent for patients in the highest preoperative dose group.
4. Reductions in overall body pain were associated with decreased likelihood of being on opioids at six months.
5. Improvement in knee or hip pain after joint replacement did not reduce the likelihood of long-term opioid use.