Youth spine patients need fewer opioids: Study

Carly Behm -  

Children and teens who have spinal fusions to treat scoliosis can be prescribed fewer opioids during recovery without compromising pain scores, researchers at Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine found.

Spine patients enrolled in the study were prescribed 30 doses of oxycodone, according to an Aug. 3 news release. Forty-nine patients and their caregivers received preoperative education about the risks of opioids while 35 did not.

Researchers found 23 percent of the patients who did not receive preoperative education asked for a refill of opioids compared to 6 percent of those were educated. On average, the patients consumed 16 doses of opioids while reporting "very low" pain scores.

"Spinal fusion is arguably one of the most painful procedures we perform in pediatric orthopedics, but our findings show we can provide excellent pain control by employing multimodal pain management techniques and preoperative education," G. Ying Li, MD, the study's senior author, said in the release.

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