Addiction Risk Low for Seniors Taking Post-Op Opioids: Study

Seniors - American Health Council

“WEDNESDAY, Aug. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) — With abuse of opioid painkillers a major public health threat in the United States, many worry that post-surgical use might trigger addiction.But a new study suggests that painkiller abuse arises in only a very small fraction — less than half of 1 percent — of cases involving people aged 65 or older.The rest of the surgical patients in the study used the drugs to ease their pain, and then stopped.

The findings provide “reassurance that the individual risk of long-term opioid use in [surgical patients new to the drugs] is low,” according to a team led by Dr. Hance Clarke of Toronto Western Hospital in Canada. Opioid medications — drugs such as Oxycontin, Vicodin or Percocet — are routinely used to treat pain after major surgery.”In the short term, opioids can help in the facilitation of physical therapy and ambulation, including engaging in light physical activity,” explained Dr. Ruchi Sharma. She is a pain management specialist at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.”

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