One study included 62 knee surgery patients undergoing reconstruction to their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), while the second study assessed 40 individuals who had surgery to repair the rotator cuff in their shoulders. While both are common surgeries for sports injury, Okoroha believes that non-opioid operational recovery regimens could be expanded to a wider range of procedures such as repetitive overuse injury and degenerative conditions.
Both studies were prospective randomized controlled trials, where one group received a standard opioid regimen for pain management and the other received non-opioid pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ketorolac, diazepam, gabapentin, and meloxicam (which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, and other medications to reduce nerve pain).
The incredible news? The results of both studies found that the non-opioid regimen provided at least equivalent pain control compared with traditional opioid analgesics for the first ten days after surgery! Even better, in both studies, there were minimal side effects with the most common ones being drowsiness, dizziness, and gastrointestinal symptoms.