20% of weight-loss surgery patients still on opioids 7 years after surgery

The percentage of adult bariatric surgical patients using opioids dips in the initial postoperative months, but increases years later, according to a study published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Disease.

For the study, researchers analyzed data on more than 2,000 bariatric surgery patients who participated in an observational study initiated in 2006 and backed by the National Institutes of Health.

Prior to surgery, 14.7 percent of the participants reported regularly using prescription opioids. Six months after the procedure, this figure dropped to 12.9 percent. However, seven years after surgery, the amount of patients regularly taking prescription opioid medications increased to 20.3 percent.

"Recent reports have suggested that bariatric surgery patients are at elevated risk of chronic opioid use," said study author Anita Courcoulas, MD, chief of minimally invasive bariatric and general surgery at Pittsburgh-based UPMC. "Our study does not prove that bariatric surgery causes an increase in opioid use. However, it does demonstrate the widespread use of opioids among post-surgical patients, thereby highlighting the need for alternative pain management approaches in this population."

More articles on opioids: 
New York county sees 22 opioid overdoses in 48 hours 
Arizona governor declares state of emergency over opioid crisis 
Carfentanil behind rise in opioid overdoses in Manatee County, says Florida police official

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