Ann Arbor, MI—Prescription opioid pain medications continue to be used by many hip and knee replacement patients for up to 6 months after hip and knee surgery, according to a new study published in the journal PAIN. The University of Michigan–led research said one of the strongest indicators of long-term narcotic usage is previous prescriptions for high-dose opioids. For the study, 574 patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery, patients were followed up at 1, 3, and 6 months after surgery to assess rates of and risk factors for long-term opioid use. Of the 30% of patients who were taking opioids prior to their joint-replacement surgery, 53% of knee-replacement patients and 35% of hip-replacement patients were still taking opioids at 6 months after surgery.

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