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Abstract

A retrospective cohort study followed 39,140 Canadian patients ages 65 and older, none of whom were prescribed opioids during the preceding year and 53% of whom received opioid prescriptions after major elective surgery from 2003 to 2010. As reported online on August 10 in JAMA Surgery, only 0.4% of surviving patients still received opioids one year after surgery. Patients recuperating from thoracic procedures had the greatest risk of persistent opioid use, likely owing to the high risk of chronic postsurgical pain. Although their findings showed minimal risk of opioid dependence in most postoperative patients, the authors recommend additional research to identify patients at greatest risk, with a focus on those with chronic pain conditions, acute postoperative pain, and prior opioid use.