Unnecessary Medications Prescribed After Surgeries

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Unnecessary Medications Prescribed After Surgeries

Physicians are prescribing high amounts of opioid medications to patients after noninvasive surgeries, according to a study published in JAMA. These amount and dosage of the prescriptions may be unnecessary and lead to dependence.

Researchers on the study from the department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed insurance claims from the years 2004 through 2012. The data was from 155,297 adults who had undergone 4 common outpatient procedures, including gall bladder removal, knee surgeries, hernia repair and carpal tunnel repair.

The researchers found that four out of every five patients that were written an opioid prescription had the prescription filled within seven days of the surgery. It was also found that throughout the years 2004 and 2012, there was an increase of these prescriptions written. For example, there was an 18 percent increase of painkiller prescriptions written to patients who had the knee surgeries.

It is recommended that physicians refrain from prescribing unnecessary medications. If an opioid is necessary, the lowest dosage should be prescribed and the patient should be monitored.