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The study shows that three days of opioids after discharge after surgery is effective



A study of postoperative patients found that pain management involving three days or less of opioid prescriptions after surgery was effective in managing pain and outcomes, according to a report published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Nineteen cancer care institutions, mostly in Buffalo, New York, helped design the study involving 4,068 surgical patients, 82% of whom had cancer. The study sought to better understand whether postoperative pain can be managed “appropriately” after hospital discharge with three or fewer days of opioid supply.

The prescriptions, which 95% of participants followed, “led to a significant reduction in opioids given postoperatively and were associated with significantly reduced conversion to chronic opioid use in postsurgical patients,”

; according to the study.

Patients also received “standardized patient education” about opioid use after surgeries, which took place between August 1, 2018, and July 31, 2019.

Called a “Restrictive Opioid Prescription Protocol,” researchers wrote that the findings “may lead to a new standard of care for managing postsurgical pain after hospital discharge.”

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health and the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation.


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