Opioids continue to be prescribed after surgical procedures, yet patients often use fewer pills than prescribed.1 A guideline designed to reduce opioid prescribing suggests that opioids can be reduced without changing patient satisfaction or pain control.2 Clinicians need to understand the other options to address post-operative pain when reliance on opioids is decreased.
The goal of this educational program is to address the need for safe, effective pain relief in the peri-operative setting, which includes the pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative phases, while minimizing adverse effects of analgesics like opioids.
Patient and caregiver education may be the most critical part of the pain management plan. Engaging in conversations about the reality of the post-operative recovery process can help caregivers and patients set reasonable expectations.
When discussing expectations:
Strategies to treat pain should encompass a variety of modalities and be tailored to patient characteristics and response to treatment.
* Routine and should be available to all patients unless contraindicated † not routine and given only as indicated.
The goal is to manage pain with safe, effective options, not simply to eliminate opioids. If opioids are required, prescribe the smallest quantity for the shortest amount of time. Educate patients about how to stop taking opioids, store opioids safely, and dispose of any unused medication.
The content of this website is educational in nature and includes general recommendations only; specific clinical decisions should only be made by a treating clinician based on the individual patient’s clinical condition.