Necessity of Opioid Rx Examined Post-Hernia Repair

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Low opioid analgesic prescribing is achievable for patients undergoing hernia repair
Low opioid analgesic prescribing is achievable for patients undergoing hernia repair

HealthDay News — The number of opioids prescribed for patients after elective hernia repair can be reduced, according to a study published online August 1 in Surgery.

Konstantinos S. Mylonas, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues surveyed 185 adult patients (95.7% male) undergoing elective inguinal herniorrhaphy under local anesthesia with intravenous sedation between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2016. The surveys were conducted two to three weeks postoperatively and included questions about the institution's opioid prescribing practice. Patients were prescribed 10 opioid analgesic tablets postoperatively but were counseled to reserve opioids for pain not controlled by nonopioid analgesics. 

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The researchers found that 85.9% of patients reported using four or fewer opioid tablets, with 59.5% reporting that they used no opioid analgesics postoperatively. Of the 147 employed patients, 75.5% reported missing three or fewer work days, with 51.4% missing no work at all. Patients who used no opioids reported experiencing less maximum (P<0.001) and persistent groin pain (P=0.037). They also reported that pain interfered less with daily activities (P=0.012) and leisure activities (P=0.018), compared to patients who did take opioids.

"Our data suggest that for elective inguinal hernia repair under a local anesthetic with intravenous sedation, a policy of low opioid analgesic prescribing is achievable," the authors write.

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