News Release

Optimizing opioid prescribing after cesarean delivery: Study of pre- and post-discharge use

Predicting opioid use following discharge after cesarean delivery

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Academy of Family Physicians

Women who take less opioid pain medication in the 24-hour period before being discharged from the hospital after a cesarean delivery also use less opioid medication during the four weeks following discharge. Thus, quantifying the amount of opioids taken during the last day of hospitalization may help better inform prescribing practices for the continuation of pain medication during recovery. While doctors prescribe opioids to most C-section patients, the total milligram morphine equivalents they prescribe vary widely. While persistent opioid use after C-section is rare, overprescribing creates a pool of uncontrolled opioids in the community, which poses a potential risk for non-medical use.

A team of researchers at the University of Colorado who conducted a prospective cohort study of 203 C-section patients found that those reporting low opioid intake after discharge took on average 44% less opioids in the 24-hours prior to discharge compared with those reporting higher usage. Researchers also learned that most of the patients in the study did not properly dispose of leftover opioids. The researchers recommend further study to evaluate strategies for reducing overprescribing pain medications following C-section surgery.


Predicting Opioid Use Following Discharge After Cesarean Delivery
Karsten Bartels, MD, PhD, et al
University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Department of Anesthesiology, Aurora, Colorado

Post-embargo published article link (goes live March 9, 2020, 5pm Eastern)

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