Pain following surgery is a concern for many patients. A multimodal approach, or balanced analgesia, has been the recommendation for pain control. Treatment strategies include the use of more than one method for controlling pain, such as the use of drugs from two or more classes, or a combination of drug and non-drug treatment.
The American Society for Anesthesiologists issued recommendations supporting a multimodal approach; however, a recent study shows a less than 25 percent utilization rate prior to surgery.
The study conducted by researchers from Thomas Jefferson University, consisted of 15 questions regarding the multimodal approach for pain management. Respondents included anesthesiologists from a variety of care settings.
The findings revealed that use of the approach is not standard practice. Additional findings included the following.
- Despite potential side effects, opioids are the most commonly used pain treatment
- Alternatives, such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are underutilized
- 75 percent of respondents use only two agents, typically a narcotic and non-narcotic
That last finding is despite the fact that evidence has shown combining three or more treatments significantly improves pain control after surgery.
Researchers presented the study and its findings at Anesthesiology 2011, the annual meeting held in Chicago last month.