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Can Pain After Prostatectomy or Nephrectomy Be Managed Without Opioids?


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The use of opioids continues to be major issue facing patients with cancer in the United States. Most patients undergoing prostate and kidney removal may be managed effectively without opioids during the postoperative period, according to new data from researchers in Pittsburgh highlighted during a special event for media conducted by the American Urological Association (AUA) on May 15. The research by Worku et al was also published in The Journal of Urology.

Methods

Using American Pain Society Patient Outcome Questionnaire, researchers assessed patient-reported pain outcomes following nephrectomy and prostatectomy, comparing responses from patients who received opioids following surgery and those for whom opioid-free pain management was utilized. Patients were given the questionnaire at their first follow-up doctor’s office visit following surgery. Researchers supplemented and paired questionnaire responses with patient demographics, postoperative pain prescriptions, hospital course, and surgeon characteristics.

Ninety-nine patients completed the questionnaire, 57 of whom had undergone prostatectomy and 42 of whom had undergone nephrectomy.

Findings

There were no significant differences in measured pain outcomes between patients who had and those who had not received postsurgical opioids. Amount of pain reported, time spent in severe pain, and effect of pain on recovery and mood were all statistically similar between those who had received opioids and those who had not, and were similar across patients who had undergone either prostatectomy or nephrectomy.

The study authors concluded, “Based on patient questionnaire responses, patients can be managed without opioids to no deleterious effect on pain control. These results support the adoption of opioid-free prostatectomy and nephrectomy for most patients.”

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit auajournals.org.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.
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