Research At-a-Glance: What Painkillers During Surgery Might Mean For Your Recovery

Research At-a-Glance: What Painkillers During Surgery Might Mean For Your Recovery

Did you know? 

This study found that high doses of fentanyl (an opioid) during surgery caused higher levels of post-op pain and post-op vomiting. Similarly, this 2018 study found that the high use of remifentanil (another opioid patients are given during surgery to relieve pain) increased the need for early post-op painkiller consumption.

In other words…

The thought is that patients given a high dose of opioids during surgery might develop a tolerance (what one study called “acute fentanyl tolerance” to be exact) that ultimately results in increased post-op pain and a higher need for (and consumption of) opioids as you recover.

What you can do…

Talk to your doctor if you’re worried about the use of opioids during surgery. Ask about options for minimizing the dosage if possible—and ask about non-opioid alternatives or a combination of both opioids and non-opioids

According to an American Nurse Today peer-reviewed article, “Using opioids alone to treat postoperative pain may adversely affect the patient’s postoperative recovery.” The same article also states that administering non-opioids may result in a patient requiring “less opioid medication for effective pain control, consequently reducing his or her risks of opioid side effects.”

Want even more pre-surgery help? Browse the rest of the Mend Well blog for empowering patient information, helpful nutrition advice, and at-a-glance medical tips.