By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov 23, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — Addictive opioid painkillers aren’t the one choice for sufferers in search of aid following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee reconstruction, researchers say.

As america wrestles with skyrocketing charges of opioid abuse and drug overdose deaths, the findings might come as excellent news.

After ACL surgical procedure, Advil and different nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and muscle relaxers seem to supply the identical diploma of ache management to sufferers as prescription opioids like morphine, hydrocodone or oxycodone, the small examine concluded.

“Opioid medicines will be useful in managing excessive ranges of ache when appropriately prescribed,” defined examine co-author Dr. Kelechi Okoroha. He’s an orthopedic surgeon and sports activities harm specialist with the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis.

“Nevertheless, when used for lengthy intervals of time, opioids will be addicting,” Okoroha cautioned. And “when used incorrectly, or in excessive doses, opioids can have negative effects, together with drowsiness, confusion, slowed respiratory and even loss of life.”

Drug overdose deaths in america are at an all-time excessive, the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention reported this month — 100,000 drug-related fatalities between April 2020 and April 2021. This represents a 30% leap over the prior 12 months. And greater than three-quarters of those deaths have been attributed to opioid use alone.

For many individuals, opioid dependancy begins with authentic prescription painkiller use after surgical procedure. Orthopedic and backbone circumstances account for almost 28% of all opioid prescriptions issued in america, the analysis crew mentioned in background notes. That has led specialists to hunt safer technique of minimizing post-surgical discomfort.

ACL surgical procedure is a standard operation, and “knee surgical procedure could cause excessive ranges of ache,” Okoroha mentioned.

However the excellent news is that the brand new examine reveals that “with acceptable multimodal administration, we are able to make this ache tolerable,” whereas eliminating opioid use, he added.

The findings have been revealed on-line just lately within the American Journal of Sports activities Medication.

For the examine, Okoroha’s crew examined their ache administration protocol with 34 sufferers who underwent ACL surgical procedure between February 2019 and January 2020.

All have been supplied opioid-free ache medicines post-op, together with NSAIDs, acetaminophen and muscle relaxers. Ache ranges 10 days after ache remedy started have been in contrast with these of 28 different sufferers handled with an opioid treatment.

The investigators decided that ache aid was the identical throughout each teams, with no considerable variations by way of negative effects (dependancy danger apart), even after accounting for age, gender and physique mass index (a normal indicator of weight problems standing).

The findings do not shock one knowledgeable who was not a part of Okoroha’s examine crew.

“I’ve really had each of my ACLs reconstructed, so I do know the related ache nicely,” mentioned Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale College Prevention Analysis Heart, in New Haven, Conn. “I consider I used opioids for a day or two each instances, after which shortly transitioned to non-opioid remedy.”

That remedy went past treatment. “An automatic, cooling compress across the surgical web site offered the best aid,” mentioned Katz.

“Based mostly on private expertise, I’m not in any respect stunned that opioids will be omitted from the routine, whereas preserving comparable ache administration,” he added.

However, Katz expressed some reservations concerning the present examine’s method.

“The routine on this examine doesn’t impress me all that a lot, to be brutally trustworthy,” he mentioned. “It avoids opioids, which will be dangerously habit-forming, however features a benzodiazepine (Valium), which will be dangerously habit-forming. And there’s no point out of non-medication choices, such because the cooling compress I described,” Katz famous.

“As the location begins to heal, there’s a case for light therapeutic massage as nicely. Really ‘multimodal’ ache aid isn’t just totally different medicines. It ought to embody non-medication choices that work, too,” he prompt.

Nonetheless, Katz did not dismiss the work totally. “Typically, opioids are overused, whereas a variety of power ache is undertreated. So there may be actually a must broadcast any advance that may assist deal with these twin threats,” he mentioned.

Extra info

There’s extra on opioids and associated dangers on the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

SOURCES: Kelechi R. Okoroha, MD, orthopedic surgeon and sports activities harm specialist, division of sports activities drugs, Mayo Clinic, Minneapolis; David Katz, MD, MPH, director, Yale College Prevention Analysis Heart, New Haven, Conn.; American Journal of Sports activities Medication, Oct. 20, 2021, on-line

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