NJ dental school gets $11.7M to study opioid alternatives

By DrBicuspid Staff

October 11, 2019 -- Rutgers School of Dental Medicine has received an $11.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research the combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen as alternatives to opioids.

Evidence from smaller, shorter studies has shown the two medications can treat acute pain as effectively as opioids, but this study will go deeper, involving 1,800 dental school patients.

In the study, half of the patients will be prescribed a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, and the rest will receive acetaminophen and ibuprofen after molar extractions.

The patients will log their pain levels, dosages, and side effects for seven days after their surgeries, and then researchers will follow up with them. Also, future opioid use will be tracked to see if participants who received opioids were more likely to use or abuse them.

Pilot studies at Rutgers showed that patients who received the ibuprofen and acetaminophen combination experienced fewer side effects and reported pain reduction levels comparable with those who received opioids.

Dental clinics were chosen for this research because dentists and oral surgeons prescribe opioids at higher rates than other clinicians.

Patients from dental school clinics at the University of Illinois, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, and University of Rochester also will participate.

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