By Erik Lief — June 14, 2018
More than six percent of surgical patients who received opioid painkillers – but had never taken them previously – developed a "persistent habit" or addiction after the normal recovery period for taking them ended.
That's a key finding from a newly-published paper that reviewed insurance claim data for a recent six-year period. This nationwide retrospective study focused on adults in the United States between the ages of 18 and 64 who underwent surgery and filled post-operative opioid prescriptions. Both major and minor surgeries were included in the project.............
However, it's important to note an essential distinction between implying that this behavior is an addiction – which it isn't necessarily – as opposed to saying the medication is being used "beyond the normal recovery period." ............"Some of these surgical patients are going to have procedures – say, for example, disc fusion – that not only didn't work, but also made their pain worse," Dr. Bloom added. "Naturally, in these cases, the patient is going to be on the painkillers for longer because they will have more pain. So in the context of this study, it's important not to categorize prolonged opioid use as addiction."