ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany Medical Center urologists published a study that concluded patients who had received major abdominal/pelvic surgery rarely needed prescription opioids for pain after they were released. The study said 98% of patients in a group did not require an opioid medication for their pain after taking over-the-counter pain medications instead.

“These results are exciting as they indicate we can essentially eliminate opioid prescriptions after urologic cancer surgery, which is important not only for an individual patient’s recovery, but also for reducing excessive opioids and potential misuse in the community,” said Badar M. Mian, MD, professor in the Department of Urology at Albany Medical Center and the lead author of the study.

The study, which was published in JAMA Surgery, was conducted between May 2017 and June 2021. It included more than 650 Albany Medical Center patients who had traditional or minimally invasive surgery for bladder, kidney, or prostate cancer.

Albany Med says patients who partook in the study were divided into three groups. A control group who were prescribed opioids, a group prescribed opioid medications with a reduced dose, and a group prescribed over-the-counter pain medications, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, in place of opioids or the “NOPIODS” group. Less than three percent of patients in the NOPIOIDS group called the clinic with pain-related issues. They also saw no increase in complications from inadequate pain control, limited mobility, etc.

“Use of opioid medications for pain control causes side effects such as nausea, constipation, sleepiness, and confusion which can further slow the recovery,” said Dr. Mian. “All patients should expect adequate pain control to allow them to function after surgery. This study shows that pain control and recovery don’t have to be compromised if we emphasize presurgical patient education about opioid alternatives, and instruct the physicians to employ a number of readily available nonopioid measures to control pain and maintain normal function.”