“We believe optimal postoperative pain management should provide adequate pain relief, minimize adverse effects, and reduce chances of drug misuse. While we cannot undertreat pain, we also cannot go back to the practice of over-prescribing or unnecessarily prescribing opioids for minor operations. There needs to be a carefully nuanced balance in treating pain, especially for pediatric and adolescent patients.
Going forward there needs to be continued parent and patient education about expectations for recovery post-surgery and proper pain management. This needs to include consistent messaging to families regarding safe use, storage, and disposal of opioids as well as the risks for non-medical use and substance use disorder.
This critically important topic deserves more research and clarification so that the medical community can properly treat pediatric and adolescent pain. Stigmatizing the select use of opioids for children and adolescents after surgery is counterproductive and additional guidance should not emphasize the fear of opioid diversion or misuse over appropriate pain management.”
Rita Agarwal is an anesthesiologist.
She shares her story and discusses the KevinMD article, “Pediatric patients need appropriate pain management after surgery.”
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