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Monash Professor Part of Landmark Series

April 29, 2019

Monash Professor Part of Landmark Series

A landmark series in The Lancet, led by Monash University Professor Paul Myles, who is Head of Monash University’s Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, reveals that a major contributor to the global opioid epidemic is inappropriately managed post-surgery pain that becomes chronic and long-lasting.

   Globally up to 75% of surgery patients are prescribed opioids at hospital discharge with no plan to monitor their use or to wean the patients off the painkillers – and the study shows that the risk of misuse increases by 44% for every week and for repeat prescription after discharge. According to Professor Myles, it is possible to detect those patients whose pain is “transitioning” from acute to chronic so that their pain can be better managed, however the majority are simply prescribed more potent painkillers, often leading to long term addiction. The Lancet papers, which include an editorial, bring together global evidence detailing the role of surgery in the opioids crisis. Professor Myles, who was commissioned to write this series by The Lancet 18 months ago, is planning to conduct a clinical trial of 4000 Australian women who have surgery for breast cancer.
   —Please see https://www.monash.edu/medicine/news/latest/2019-articles/landmark-lancet-series-reveals-poor-management-of-surgery-pain-key-contributor-to-global-opioid-crisis for more on this.