Post-surgery pain relief has shifted away from opioid-containing medications over the past seven years, but the downward trend has slowed since 2020, a new study shows.

Overall, the rate of surgery-related opioid prescriptions dropped by 36% from 2016 to the end of 2022, and the average amount of opioids in those prescriptions dropped by 46%, the study of pharmacy data finds.

That combination of declines means that the total amount of opioids dispensed to surgical patients in late 2022 was 66% lower compared with early 2016, according to the findings published in JAMA Network Open by a team from the University of Michigan.

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