An interesting article in the May Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that those who took opioids (narcotics such as hydrocodone found in norco and Vicodin) had less pain relief after surgery.
This is yet one more reason to avoid these drugs, the use of which has greatly increased in recent years. Side effects such as respiratory depression, severe constipation, and even death have increased.
Although I no longer perform knee replacements (preferring to concentrate on surgery that restores rather than replaces as well as non surgical treatments for arthritis such as stem cell or PRP treatment), I see many patients with severe arthritis, many of whom will eventually need knee replacement. I virtually never give these patients narcotics but rather recommend use of a walker (or two crutches) to take weight off the arthritic knee. This dramatically reduces pain, and eliminates the need for strong pain relievers, while definitive treatment is awaited: definitive treatment in my hands being Stem Cell or PRP treatment, or referral for knee replacement surgery elsewhere. Patients feel better, sleep better, and do not have medication side effects. And now we know that in addition they are likelier to have satisfactory pain relief (which is not necessarily a given even after knee replacement surgery) if they do have total knee replacement surgery.