As opioid abuse continues making headlines, doctors are being more proactive in discussing pain management and opioid alternatives after oral surgery.

A national survey recently conducted by Pacira Pharmaceuticals showed that more than 7 in 10 oral surgery patients would opt for a non-opioid medication for their pain. The majority of patients wanted the chance to discuss pain management prior to the procedure. Nearly 90% of patients who took opioids experienced adverse side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and confusion, which impaired their daily activities for several days.

Additionally, more than half of the opioids prescribed to patients after surgery go unused. Research shows that prescription strength ibuprofen combined with acetaminophen can offer more effective pain relief and fewer adverse side effects.

The survey was conducted in June & July of 2016, polling adults age 18 or older as well as parents of patients under 18 years. The results will be presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American College of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons.

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