App helps reduce post-surgical opiate use


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Researchers are reporting promising results from a new study which investigated the effect of a new smartphone app on opiate use and pain control among patients undergoing total knee replacement (TKR). 

The app, PainCoach, allows patients to input their pain level and based on this information and the amount of days after surgery, the app offers advice on drug pain relief use and exercises or rest.

For the study, 71 patients undergoing TKR were randomised to the app and usual care (n=38) or usual care alone (n=33) in the first fortnight at home after surgery. 

The study found that compared to the control group, users of the PainCoach app used around 23 per cent less opiates and 15 per cent more paracetamol in the first two weeks following surgery. The more the study participants used the app, the more likely they were to have lower pain scores and use less opioids. Regular app users (n=19) reported four times faster reduction in pain during activity and six times faster reduction in pain at night. 

"These are important findings given the current demands on the healthcare system and the growing misuse of prescription painkillers worldwide," said author Dr Amar Sheombar from Kliniek ViaSana in the Netherlands.