This app may help control pain, reducing opioid use after surgery

In a new study, researchers found that a smartphone app called PainCoach could help patients control their pain at home after a knee replacement surgery.

These patients had better pain control and used fewer opiate painkiller drugs after surgery.

In addition, the more the patients used the app, the more likely they were to lower pain scores and decrease their use of opioids.

The research was done by a team from Kliniek ViaSana in the Netherlands.

In the study, the team examined 71 patients aged 56-70 years undergoing total knee replacement.

Some patients used the app and usual care, and others only use the usual care alone in the first 2 weeks at home after surgery.

The mobile app allows patients to input their pain level (no pain, bearable pain, unbearable pain, or untenable pain).

Based on this information and the number of days after surgery, the app offers advice on drug pain relief use and exercises or rest.

The team found that compared with the control group, patients who used the PainCoach app used 23% fewer opiates and 15% more paracetamol in the first 2 weeks following surgery.

Regular use of the app led to a further reduction in opiate use and improved pain control during daily activity and at night.

The result showed that regular app users reported four times faster pain reduction during daily activity, six times faster pain reduction at night, and 44% less opiate and 76% less gabapentin use (taken to relieve nerve pain) compared with patients who did not use the app.

In addition, opiate use was replaced by 21% more paracetamol use in regular app users.

The findings show the app could help develop new treatments to better manage patients’ pain after surgery.

The team says the findings provide important information for fighting the current opioid addiction epidemic.

They may help control the growing misuse of prescription painkillers worldwide.

One author of the study is Dr. Amar Sheombar.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Anaesthesiology

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