Nearly 50% of women are over-prescribed opioids at discharge after C-section

Nearly half of women discharged with an opioid prescription after giving birth via cesarean section are over-prescribed, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City presented the study results at Anesthesiology 2019, an annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., scheduled from Oct. 19-23.

Researchers examined the implementation of new physician anesthesiologist-led pain management protocol implemented at Columbia University Medical Center in 2017. The protocol involved women receiving standard doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen every six hours after a C-section delivery while in the hospital. The women only received opioids for persistent pain.

The research team compared in-hospital opioid use in 491 women before the new protocol was implemented to in-hospital opioid use in 1,125 women after implementation. They also analyzed opioid prescriptions provided to 1,503 women being discharged from the hospital in 2018 after a C-section delivery.

They found that the cumulative opioid dosage was three times lower after the new protocol was put in place compared to before. Also, the proportion of women who did not use opioids during their hospital stay increased from 9.6 percent pre-implementation to 29.8 percent post-implementation.

Researchers also analyzed opioid prescriptions provided to 1,503 women being discharged from the hospital in 2018 after a c-section delivery.

They found that 96.4 percent of the 1,503 women received a prescription for opioids at discharge in 2018, and opioid over-prescription occurred in 49.9 percent of patients. Also, while 30.3 percent did not use opioids at all after their c-section delivery, 89 percent of those women received an opioid prescription at discharge.

More articles on opioids:
Drug companies reach last-minute opioid settlement
West Virginia receives $6.5M for state opioid abuse program, telehealth services
HHS creates clinician resource for tapering patients' opioid use

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