November 24, 2019
The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine has started to use new opioid-free pain management guidelines in most outpatient procedures done in its clinics, in what may be a first in schools across the nation.
For decades, doctors have routinely prescribed opioid pain relievers for procedures such as the extraction of wisdom teeth, according to Dr. Bernard J. Costello, dental school dean. The new protocol allows clinicians to choose the best pain relief based on an individual patient’s needs and concerns. It advocates prescribing nonopioids first whenever possible.
“As a first-line agent, the vast number of outpatients can have Tylenol and/or ibuprofen, which treats … very effectively without the use of narcotics,” Dr. Costello said. “Instead of a just-in-case mentality, now it’s a break-glass-in-emergency mentality.”
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