100 Million Prescription Opioids Unused Annually After Dental Surgery

University of Pennsylvania research addresses the prescription drugs that are leftover after surgical tooth extraction. According to the report, more than one-half of the opioids prescribed to patients following the dental procedure were left unused. Results of the study show within 5 days of surgery, most patients are experiencing relatively little pain, and yet, most still had well over half of their opioid prescription left, according to a co-author of the study. When translated to the broad U.S. population, the study suggests that more than 100 million opioid pills prescribed to patients following surgical removal of impacted wisdom teeth are not used, leaving the door open for possible abuse or misuse by patients, or their friends or family. The research, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, suggests that having prescription disposal kiosks in pharmacies as well as small financial incentives could increase correct disposal of opioids by more than 20%.