Letters Prolonged use of opioids after surgery

Long term opioid use in 3.1% of patients after surgery may be appropriate

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2165 (Published 19 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2165
  1. Pradeep Desai, consultant in pain medicine1,
  2. Tauheedur Shaikh, advanced pain trainee/anaesthetics specialist trainee year 61
  1. 1Wexham Park Hospital, Slough SL2 4HL, UK
  1. tauheed43{at}gmail.com

We agree that the inappropriate administration of opioids is harmful,1 2 but likening opioids to “smarties” on the basis of long term opioid use in 3.1% of patients after surgery may be sensationalising an appropriate rate.

Around 10-30% of patients have some chronic postoperative pain,3 with higher rates after thoracotomy. Do opioids have …

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