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Choose alternatives to narcotic pain medicines before knee replacement.

A study published Nov. 2, 2011, in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery suggests that people who take narcotic (opioid) pain relievers before knee-replacement surgery may have more difficulty recovering afterward. Common opioid pain relievers include hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab) and oxycodone (Percocet, Tylox). Researchers compared patients who had regularly used opioids for six or more weeks before surgery to those who had not used the medications. Compared to nonusers, chronic opioid users had longer hospital stays, lower function, and less mobility in the replaced knee, and more pain, stiffness and complications two to seven years after surgery, the study found. The take-home message: Review with your physician alternatives to opioid pain medications before knee replacement, and consider an earlier referral to an orthopaedic surgeon before using opioids habitually.

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Title Annotation:NEWS BRIEFS
Publication:Men's Health Advisor
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Words:131
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