- A local Miami surgeon is leading efforts to limit opioid prescribing through the use of EXPAREL, a non-opioid medication with better results for pain management after orthopedic surgeries.
The opioid crisis continues to plague the nation. During 2017, there were more than 72,000 overdose deaths, including 49,068 that involved an opioid. More than 130 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2016 and 2017, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Florida is no exception; in fact, a recent report from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that Florida is one of the two states hit hardest by the epidemic. Despite the well-known side effects of opioids, these medications are often still prescribed in the surgical setting. The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by doctors steadily increased from 112 million prescriptions in 1992 to a peak of 282 million in 2012, according to the market research firm IMS Health.
Miami-based orthopedic surgeon Alejandro Badia has made it his mission to provide a non-opioid option to his patients to help turn the tide of this epidemic and reduce the need for opioids. “For decades, opioids have been a common indication for post-surgical pain control, and, most commonly, after undergoing surgery is the first exposure to opioids. Unfortunately, many patients have become long-term users,” said Dr. Badia.
Dr. Badia’s approach to reduce opioid prescribing is a non-opioid medication called EXPAREL, a local anesthetic (bupivacaine liposome) single-injection nerve block. In 2011, EXPAREL was approved by the FDA to provide post-surgical analgesia and received FDA recognition to be a safe and effective pain management tool, a nonaddictive option.
Before utilizing this alternative, Dr. Badia’s patients were typically going home with 30 opioids to manage pain following various orthopedic surgeries. Now, patients receive a prescription for only 5-10 opioids, and he finds that most patients never even fill the script. “After surgery, patients can find pain relief for three days. When the effect goes away, pain is a minimum, and there is no need for prescribing additional strong medication,” remarked Dr. Badia.
Dr. Badia, who is the creator and founder of Badia Hand to Shoulder Center in the heart of Doral, Florida, is an advocate for non-opioid options as a patient as well, having received EXPAREL for a knee osteotomy during which he experienced very little pain. “Alongside many colleagues, we are carrying out an initiative called opioid-free surgery, as research shows many people started their addiction when they were prescribed opiates for post-surgical pain control,” he said.
There is risk associated with opioid exposure; actually, nearly 9% of surgical patients who had not been taking opioids prior to the operation period became persistent users in 2017. According to the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, 68% of people using pain relievers (non-medically) obtained them from a friend or relative, and 4 out of 5 new heroin users started by misusing opioids.
Haz clic para leer en Español: Dr. Badia está revolucionando el enfoque del manejo del dolor de los pacientes