According to a study published online in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, following joint and spine surgery, many patients report unused opioids, infrequent use of analgesic alternatives, and lack of knowledge regarding safe opioid storage and disposal. 

The authors surveyed 140 adult patients who underwent elective joint and spine surgery at a single center, with 115 patients (82 percent) available at one-month follow-up and 110 patients (80 percent) available at six-month follow-up. Among patients who stopped opioid therapy, the authors found that possession of unused opioids was reported by 73 percent at one month and 34 percent at six months. At one month, 46 percent of patients had 20 or more unused pills, 37 percent had 200 or more morphine milligram equivalents, and only 6 percent reported using multiple nonopioid adjuncts. In addition, at six months, 92 percent of patients reported unsafe storage of opioids, and 47 percent reported a failure to dispose of unused opioids. Learn more... or Read the abstract...

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