The use of opioids for pain relief soared during the pandemic as some patients waited longer for surgery, according to new research.
The University of Aberdeen team focused on more than 450 patients due to have hip or knee replacement surgery.
They said waiting times for these procedures increased by an average of 90 days and that the numbers of patients using opioids while waiting for surgery increased by 40% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The research, published in the BMJ Quality and Safety, looked at data collected from 452 NHS patients from the north east of Scotland.
The university's Luke Farrow, who led the research, said alternative ways of managing severe arthritis pain needed to be found "urgently" for those waiting for this kind of surgery.
Source: BBC News, 15 November 2021