In the face of rising opioid addiction, local oral surgeons are offering patients an alternative to addictive painkillers. Drs. Michael Ray and William Phillips of Park Cities Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates often prescribe Exparel, an opioid free painkiller, following surgery.
The New York Times reports that 72,000 people died in 2017 from opioid overdose nationwide, with Texas opioid overdose deaths tripling over the last two decades. Many of these addictions begin with the 3.5 million young adults who are prescribed painkillers following wisdom teeth surgery, but the Park Cities surgeons are hoping to curb the rise with an alternative treatment.
Exparael is a single-dose injection that blocks pain for up to three days while it releases the opioid-free anesthetic. The medication targets the surgical area rather than impacting the entire body with side effects, and the single dose reduces the risk of abuse and misuse.
“The acceleration of the opioid crisis is frightening,” Ray said via release. “It’s very common for oral surgeons to prescribe opioid prescriptions following a wisdom teeth extraction. However, by offering a long-lasting alternative to ease pain we hope to help fight the epidemic and prescribe fewer opioids to help slow the addiction crisis.”