Impact of Taking Opioids Prior to Knee Replacement Surgery
Posted on July 31, 2017 in Medical Malpractice by Folkman
A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery reveals that people who take opioids prior to knee replacement surgery suffer more pain after the procedure than those who do not. Despite the implications of this study, opioid prescriptions are on the rise. In the United States, over $1.5 billion is spent each year on prescription opioids for people with knee osteoarthritis, according to the study’s researchers.
Knee replacement surgery is the last resort for those with osteoarthritis. Patients are often encouraged to attempt non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy and exercise. However, doctors may also prescribe opioid painkillers to help patients cope with the pain associated with osteoarthritis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that patients may develop a tolerance to prescription opioids, meaning that the longer patients are on the opioid medication, the more they will have to take to achieve the same level of pain relief. The CDC also notes that other pain management strategies are less dangerous, such as physical therapy and exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy, and alternative pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
The lead author of the study advises physicians to discuss the potential impacts of using opioids with patients who may consider knee replacement surgery in the future. Long-term implications should be weighed against short-term benefits when deciding whether to utilize opioid therapy. Doctors have legal obligations to assess the relative risks and benefits of medications for each patient and to advise patients of the known risks and side effects associated with prescribed medications.
If doctors do not fulfill their duty to advise patients of the known risks and side effects associated with a prescribed medication, they may be liable for their medication error. Other types of medication errors include administering the wrong dosage, prescribing a medication that causes a dangerous interaction with another medication, and prescribing a medication to which a patient is allergic. Medical malpractice lawsuits may be brought against doctors, pharmacists, or manufacturers, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Cherry Hill Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Folkman Law Advocate for Victims of Medication Errors
If you believe that you are a victim of a medication error, contact a South Jersey medical malpractice lawyer at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. We can help you collect evidence and determine who should be held accountable. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. We represent clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania with offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, as well as in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Call us today at 856-354-9444 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.