Local doctors working to combat opioid abuse

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) - Joseph Theriot broke his clavicle in four places, after a recent mountain biking accident; he underwent surgery right away.

 Dr. Judson Penton and Dr. Bart Kyle are with Louisiana Orthopedic Specialists.

They say it's crucial for physicians to make the right call on what they prescribe for pain relief after surgery. 

"We're trying to do everything we can to decrease the amount of opioids that are used in post-operative narcotics," Penton explains.

 Kyle adds: "Narcotics come with the myriad of side effects, itching, nausea, vomiting, [the] heart slows down [the] ability for our patients to rehab after therapy, so we try to stay away from them at all costs."

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the state averages 110 narcotics prescriptions per 100 people.

That means there are more narcotics prescriptions than residents.

Now doctors are tackling pain in a variety of ways, using nerve block devices like a pain pump to lower the need for prescription pain pills.

“It's a numbing medication that is placed near the surgical site to help what we block the nerves from feeling pain,” Penton explains.

The disposable pumps only administer medication approved by a physician.

“It's called multimodal therapy so we're targeting every aspect of pain. So we use anti-inflammatories, nerve medicines, the blocks and light doses of narcotics," Kyle explains.

Theriot used a pain pump for about three days after surgery.

“I hate taking medicine. I mostly took Tylenol and I take a half dosage because I just hate that cloudy head feeling,” he says.

For Dr. Kyle and Dr. Penton, finding alternative pain relief is part of their responsibility as physicians to help their patients while limiting opioids.

“We want to make them as pain-free as possible as safely as possible and we actively trying to be a part of that opioid battle,” Penton says.

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