(BPT) - Headlines filled with news of opioid abuse, overdoses and reports that 90 percent of addictions start in the teen years could make any parent worry. Yet parents remain conflicted about opioids: While more than half express concern their child may be at risk for opioid addiction, nearly two-thirds believe opioids are more effective at managing their child’s pain after surgery or a broken bone than non-prescription medication or other alternatives, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).
“The survey results shed light on the country’s conflicted relationship with and understanding of opioids,” said ASA President Linda J. Mason, M.D., FASA. “Opioids may not always be the best option. It really depends on the type of surgery and how long they are required. It is important for parents to know that there are many alternatives available that are as — or more — safe and effective for pain management.”
During Physician Anesthesiologists Week (Jan. 27 to Feb. 2), ASA wants parents to know that a physician anesthesiologist can create an individualized plan to best address patients’ pain based on the condition or type of surgery and decrease the risk of opioid misuse and addiction.
Parents aren’t asking about effective alternatives
While opioids can help with pain management for a few days after surgery or injury, there are effective alternatives that do not have the side effects and risks of opioids. But the survey results suggest parents often don’t ask about alternatives, or aren’t aware of the range of options.
* 59 percent said they would talk to their physician about pain management options, but only 37 percent of those whose children were prescribed opioids actually did.
* 88 percent recognized non-opioid, over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and aspirin, are used to effectively help treat pain. However, few were aware the same applies to other non-opioid options, including steroids (23 percent), antidepressants (9 percent) and anti-seizure medications (7 percent).
Beyond medications, a number of non-drug therapies can help with ongoing pain, including nerve blocks, physical therapy, biofeedback, meditation, virtual reality, massage and acupuncture.
Parents are unaware that safe storage and proper disposal are key
More than half of people who misuse prescribed opioids get them from a friend or relative. That’s why safe storage and proper disposal of the drugs are important to help curb the epidemic.
* Only 50 percent said they stored or would store opioids in a safe and secure place.
* 60 percent of those whose children took opioids said they needed fewer than were prescribed and had leftover medication. But only 39 percent of all parents disposed or would dispose of leftover opioids as recommended, including taking them to a local pharmacy or health clinic, flushing them down the toilet or mixing them with dirt, kitty litter or coffee grounds before throwing them away.
* 61 percent correctly identified the ideal method of disposing leftover opioids, which involves taking them to a collection center at a local police station or drug disposal program at a pharmacy or health clinic.
Parents understand importance of communication
When a child is prescribed opioids, parents need to have an open and honest discussion about the potential side effects and risks — not only with the child taking the medication, but other family members as well.
* 74 percent said they have talked to their child about the dangers of abusing prescription and over-the-counter medications and 20 percent said they intend to have the conversation.
* 89 percent of those whose children have been prescribed opioids said they’ve had those discussions.
* 91 percent said they are confident their children know that prescribed and over-the-counter medications can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs.
Parents recognize naloxone saves lives
Naloxone (Narcan) is a lifesaving medication administered via nasal spray or injection that rapidly reverses the effects of an overdose. It’s important to know about naloxone because anyone who uses opioids may be at risk for an overdose.
* 71 percent agreed that having naloxone on hand is the same as having other life-saving medication available for people who suffer from conditions such as allergies, asthma or diabetes.
* 80 percent said they would be more comfortable having it at home if their child or another family member was taking opioids.
* 92 percent thought all first responders should carry it.
The 17-question Engine Caravan Omnibus Survey was conducted online Nov. 25 to Dec. 2, 2018, among 1,007 parents of children ages 13-24, one-third of whom had been prescribed opioids.
Visit ASA’s website for information about all aspects of pain management and to access an opioid overdose resuscitation card that provides guidance on symptoms of an overdose and how to help.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 53,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring that physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care that every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount. Like ASA on Facebook; follow ASALifeline on Twitter
(BPT) - Few things are more daunting for first-time moms than the prospect of childbirth. They wonder: Will my baby be OK? What will labor and delivery be like? Moms who have been there offer the low-down on labor and delivery and their message is comforting. Yes, childbirth is painful. But it’s manageable. In fact, nearly half of first-time moms (46 percent) said the pain they experienced with their first child was better than they expected, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).
The survey findings suggest that being proactive in managing pain with your physician anesthesiologist is important, whether laboring moms demand an epidural right away, choose other medical pain management methods, use complementary techniques only or opt for a combination. Nine out of 10 women said pain management was effective, no matter what method they chose.
But the survey also revealed that many first-time moms held some false beliefs about labor pain management before they experienced childbirth:
* 74 percent thought you couldn’t have an epidural after a certain time in labor (you can have one up until the baby’s head begins emerging, known as crowning)
* 44 percent feared pain at the epidural injection site would last for a prolonged time
* 26 percent believed an epidural slows labor
* Most concerning, 20 percent believed only one pain management option could be provided during labor and 16 percent didn’t know
Expectant mothers should work with their health care providers, including their physician anesthesiologist, to discuss what pain management methods may work best for them.
“First-time mothers need to know that a wide variety of options exist to manage pain, from epidural to massage, nitrous oxide to breathing techniques and that it’s acceptable to change methods or use a combination during nearly every stage of labor,” said ASA President James D. Grant, M.D., M.B.A., FASA. “But it’s also important to be flexible, since it may be necessary to change pain-management methods based on the labor process itself.”
When it hurt most and what it was like
While slightly more than half said having contractions was the most painful aspect of delivery, about one in five noted pushing or post-delivery was most painful. Moms 18 to 39 were more likely to say post-delivery pain was the most painful aspect than those 40 and older. The most common description of the level of pain experienced was extreme menstrual cramps (45 percent), while 16 percent said it was like bad back pain and 15 percent compared it to a broken bone.
So, what pain management did they choose?
While the epidural reigned supreme as the most common option, chosen by 73 percent, 40 percent of women used complementary techniques (breathing, water birth, massage, visualization or hypnosis). Additionally, pain management during labor and delivery may not be “one size fits all,” with 31 percent having used both medical (epidural, medication delivered through an IV or injection, spinal block or nitrous oxide) and complementary methods.
And while nitrous oxide has received a lot of attention recently, the survey results suggest it’s rarely used. Only 2 percent of moms had nitrous oxide, and none 40 and older or who lived in the Midwest used it to manage labor pain. “This suggests that despite the buzz, nitrous oxide may not be widely available yet, or that mothers aren’t convinced it would be very helpful,” said Dr. Grant.
In the future
If they were to give birth again, most moms would choose the pain management method, whether medical and/or complementary, they originally chose during their first childbirth, with the majority (60 percent) opting again for an epidural to manage their pain.
“Every woman’s pain during labor is different and talking with your health care provider and physician anesthesiologist can help you decide which pain management method will give you the best labor and delivery experience,” said Dr. Grant.
The 10-question ORC International CARAVAN(R) Omnibus Survey was conducted online April 3-11 among 912 mothers (18 years or older) of children ages 0-8, whose first child was born either via vaginal childbirth or Cesarean section (C-section) after the onset of labor. Ultimately, 73 percent had a vaginal childbirth.
For more information about pain management during labor and delivery and the importance of seeing a physician anesthesiologist, visit asahq.org/labor.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring that physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care that every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount. Like ASA on Facebook; follow ASALifeline on Twitter.
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