Findings from a study published online in JAMA Surgery suggest that many postoperative prescription opioids are unused and remain accessible. The research team analyzed six studies covering 810 unique patients. 

Across all six studies, 67 percent to 92 percent of patients reported unused opioids. Of all opioid tablets obtained by surgical patients, 42 percent to 71 percent went unused. Reasons given for stopping or not taking opioids included adequate pain control and opioid-induced adverse effects. Further, the research team notes that in two studies examining storage safety, 73 percent to 77 percent of patients reported that their prescription opioids were not stored in locked containers. All studies reported low rates of anticipated or actual disposal, but no study reported more than 9 percent of patients who followed U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-recommended disposal methods. Learn more...

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