Johns Hopkins creates opioid guidelines for 20 common surgeries  

A panel of healthcare providers and patients from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine developed the country's first set of opioid prescription guidelines for 20 common surgeries.

The researchers outlined their process for creating the guidelines in a study published Aug. 14 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The panel included 30 healthcare professionals from the Johns Hopkins Health System, including surgeons, pain specialists, outpatient surgical nurse practitioners, surgical residents, patients and pharmacists. The procedures included a combination of invasive and noninvasive surgeries across eight specialties, including thoracic, orthopedic and cardiac surgery.

The panel recommends patients use over-the-counter-painkillers before asking their physicians for opioids. When opioids are necessary, the panel recommends physicians prescribe one to 15 opioids tablets for 11 of the 20 procedures, 16 to 20 tables for six of the 20 procedures and zero tablets for three of the 20 procedures.

"Prescriptions for pain meds after surgery should be custom tailored to the operation and a patient’s needs and goals, but the hope is that these guidelines will help reset ‘defaults' that have been dangerously high for too long," lead author Martin Makary, MD, professor of surgery and health policy expert at Baltimore based-Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a press release.

More articles on opiods: 

Dr. Toby Cosgrove: Opioid epidemic has 'peaked'
EMS naloxone use jumps 75% in 4 years, CDC says
Opioid use among pregnant women on the rise, CDC says

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