Wide Variation in Opioid Prescribing for Pain Relief Following Knee Arthroscopy

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Benjamin Ukert PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Health Policy and Management
Texas A&M

Mucio Kit Delgado, MD, MS
Department of Emergency Medicine
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: The opioid epidemic has received a lot of attention and many state policies have been passed to address excessive opioid prescribing and highlight the dangers of opioid use initiation for those who have never been exposed to opioids. We also now know that most patients prescribed opioids for post-operative pain have significant quantities of pills leftover. One study showed that after knee arthroscopy, 50% of patients took no opioids, and 90% took less than 5 pills (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7190545/).

We thought to investigate whether overprescribing is still common, and asked the question whether we now observe low levels of prescribing following knee arthroscopy and whether there are differences in prescribing practices across states.

Total Hip Replacement Can Be Safely Performed with Minimal Opioids for Pain Relief

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Andrew Wickline MD FAAOS
New Hartford, NY 13413

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Joint replacement has long been synonymous with pain relief–but not until 6-12 weeks after surgery.  Many patients put off joint replacement due to fear and anxiety–particularly about the possible pain after surgery often seen in the first several months.  Opioids have long been the mainstay of controlling pain after surgery but are associated with significant side effects and risk for addiction and injury. 

Our study shows that with our comprehensive protocol, 97% of patients can have successful surgical recovery with little to no opioids being necessary to stay comfortable.  Additionally, it shows that 94% of patients can go home within 24 hours and 95% will likely need no post-operative therapy to recover.

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Surgery vs Conservative Care Pain Relief from for Persistent Sciatica

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Dr. Chris Bailey
Western Bone and Joint Institute

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study? 

Response: Acute and subacute sciatica from a lumbar disc herniation is recognized to have a very good natural history with approximately 90% making significant improvement within 4 months of onset.  Hence, studies have shown that surgery for disc herniation has a short-term benefit over non-operative care. 

In many cases, the patients not receiving surgery will improve to the level of those receiving surgery by 6 months (Peul et al, 2007).  Chronic sciatica we felt was a different situation.  

What are the main findings?

Response: Our study confirmed that surgery has a greater advantage for these patients out to 1 year following surgery.  An unpublished stat from our work found that there is a 70% greater chance of significant improvement in sciatica with surgery compared to non-operative care (including physiotherapy, education, medications, and epidural injections).  We recommend that a referral is made to a surgeon for these patients as the likelihood of improvement without surgery is much less than for acute sciatic.

PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response:  Previous studies have also had a difficult time controlling for cross-over and maintaining distinct treatment cohorts.  Our study was designed in such a way to utilized the inherent wait times for consultation in our Canadian health care system so to prevent crossover from the non-op group to the surgical group.

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Our plan is to perform future cost effectiveness analysis and publish on long term outcomes as well.

Citation:

Surgery versus Conservative Care for Persistent Sciatica Lasting 4 to 12 Months
Chris S. Bailey, M.D., Parham Rasoulinejad, M.D., David Taylor, M.D., Keith Sequeira, M.D., Thomas Miller, M.D., Jim Watson, M.D., Richard Rosedale, P.T., Stewart I. Bailey, M.D., Kevin R. Gurr, M.D., Fawaz Siddiqi, M.D., Andrew Glennie, M.D., and Jennifer C. Urquhart, Ph.D
Nengl j med 382;12 nejm.org March 19, 2020

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Chronic Back and Knee Pain Relief: How Do Sham Procedures Compare to Surgery?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wayne B Jonas MD

Wayne B Jonas MD

H&S Ventures
Samueli Integrative Health Programs

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: The findings of this study are based on a systematic review of 25 randomized clinical trials evaluating surgical type interventions (open surgeries, arthroscopic, endoscopic, laparoscopic, heart catheterization, radiofrequency, laser, and other interventions) for chronic back and knee pain. In each study, researchers had also performed sham procedures on a control group where they replicated the invasive procedure by omitting the step believed to be therapeutically necessary. The purpose of this it to determine how much of the effects are due to the placebo response.

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Variety of Pain Relief Medications Reduced Opioid Usage in Trauma Patients

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Christine S. Cocanour, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.C.C.M.
Division of Trauma, Acute Care Surgery and Surgical Critical Care 
UC Davis Health

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: Our critical care pharmacists (Duby, Hamrick and Lee) and surgeons (Cocanour, Beyer) wanted to decrease our use of opioids without compromising pain control in our trauma patients—especially those that were admitted to the ICU.  To help make more appropriate choices we put together an order set that was a multimodal approach to pain management. 

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