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OPIOID FREE ANESTHESIA: RELEVANCE AND REPERCUSSIONS IN
POSTOPERATIVE PAIN MANAGEMENT

Juan P. Cata*,**

*Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre Houston, TX. USA
** Anesthesiology and Surgical Oncology Research Group.

Opioids remain as the most potent analgesics in clinical practice. In the United States and
other developed countries, the rate of opioid prescription to manage intraoperative and postoperative
pain is high. Not less disturbing it is the fact that patients undergoing surgery might
already be taking opioids preoperatively due to the high prevalence (30%-40%) of acute or
chronic pain. 1 For instance, a recent study demonstrated that approximately a third of the
general population of France were taking opioid within 6 months of the survey. The most
common indications were bone and joint pain. 2 Unfortunately, opioids in moderate-to-high
doses are associated with a high incidence of side effects. Therefore, several medical societies
have recommended the minimization of their use in the perioperative period. Based on this
recommendation, perioperative physicians (i.e. anesthesiologists and surgeons) have proposed
the idea of opioid-free anesthesia. Furthermore, a recent publication from our group
introduced the concept of opioid-free or opioid-less perioperative care.

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