Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Prolonged use of opioids after surgery

Prolonged postoperative pain is a complex biopsychosocial problem

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 19 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2162
  1. Michael H Basler, consultant in anaesthesia and pain medicine1,
  2. Colin P Rae, consultant in anaesthesia and pain medicine2
  1. 1Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow G4 0SF, UK
  2. 2Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, UK
  1. m.basler{at}

The editorial accompanying Clarke and colleagues’ paper offers only superficial analysis of the complexity of prolonged postoperative opioid use.1 2 Hospital systems are protocol driven—early surgical discharge is encouraged to reduce costs. Unsurprisingly, patients are now often discharged on stronger analgesics, and systems to ensure timely review of analgesia are not robust.

Society no longer tolerates prolonged suffering, and …

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