Doctors continue to prescribe far too many opioid painkillers to patients following surgery, a new study indicates.
In fact, one of every three patients prescribed an opioid, such as Oxycontin, didn’t take a single pill during their recuperation, said lead researcher Elizabeth Habermann. She is scientific director for surgical outcomes at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
“Their entire prescription amount went unused,” Habermann said. “That showed us there’s an opportunity to prescribe a certain select group of patients zero opioids, and they may be able to take care of their pain with acetaminophen [Tylenol] or NSAIDs alone.” NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Motrin or Advil.