A local surgeon is trying to take the first step in fighting the Central Texas opioid crisis.
Brazos Oral and Facial Surgery is now offering a non-narcotic injection for post-procedure pain management. Doctors are using an opioid-free formula called Exparel, which continues to release an anesthetic for up to three days after surgery.
To compare, traditional pain relievers typically last just four to six hours. This essentially eliminates the need for pills.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, McLennan County has higher opioid prescription rates than both the state and national averages.
“It was important for us to look at how we were doing things and do everything that we could to try to help both the community and our patients,” says Dr. Scott Warren, of Brazos Oral and Facial Surgery.
Doctors say young patients are most prone to opioid addiction – especially in the early days of their prescription. Experts at Integrated Pain Associates say drugs like this do help curb the epidemic, but the costs sometimes shy patients away.
“A lot of times, getting over that 48-72 hour period after a dental procedure or a surgical procedure is the most critical time in controlling pain. Some medical practices do use this, but again, you’re right. The cost has made this somewhat prohibitive in becoming more of a mainstream local anesthetic that we use for blocks,” says Dr. Benjamin Lowry, of Integrated Pain Associates.
FOX44 and Integrated Pain Associates are working together to raise awareness about opioid use and abuse.
If you have any questions about opioids that you want us to answer, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use #painstopshere on social media.