February 5, 2018 – Few Opioids


Anchor lead: How should opioids be used when someone has surgery? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Opioid medications are addictive. But they’re also effective for relieving severe pain. Now a study in the BMJ concludes that careful management of opioids in this setting may minimize risks. Eric Strain, an addiction expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Strain: We do know that duration of opioid use can lead to physical dependence. So if you’re on an opioid regularly for a period of time there’s a chance that you’ll become physically dependent upon that. And that’s a risk factor for then for continued opioid use. So it makes sense to be considering shorter duration of opioid use, even at higher doses perhaps.  :24

Strain says patients must get involved.

Strain: Patients should be very proactive about their management of pain. And all of their postsurgical care, and they should be asking questions and they should be thinking about what are the risks associated with using any medication that’s being prescribed, but especially opioids given the risk of their abuse.   :17

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.