The study included 140 patients, with an average age of 56, who were surveyed about non-opioid analgesic use two days, two weeks, one month and six months after surgery. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (nsaids) such as motrin and advil, and acetaminophen (tylenol).
Two days after surgery, 82 percent of the patients did not take nsaids. 44 percent reported not using acetaminophen. Only 5 percent used both nsaids and acetaminophen.
One month after surgery, only 6 percent of patients reported using multiple non-opioids.
Also a month after surgery, nearly three-quarters of patients said they had an unused opioid. Nearly half said they had 20 or more unused pills, and 37 percent said they had more than 200 milligrams of opioid. At this dose, some experts say, patients who have never taken narcotic painkillers can overdose.
The vast majority of study patients reported unsafe storage of opioids a month after surgery and said they had not disposed of unused pills.
The study was recently published in the journal of anesthesia and analgesia.
The American academy of family physicians has more preventive control measures after surgery.
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