Postpartum opioid use varies by delivery type, institution

  • Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM

  • Elisabeth Aron, MD, MPH, FACOG
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • More opioids are prescribed to women with cesarean delivery (CD) than with vaginal delivery.
  • Prescribing practices vary between institutions.

Why this matters

  • 1 out of 300 opioid-naive users exposed to opioids after CD becomes a persistent user.
  • Improved guidelines for prescribing pain medications in the postpartum period may help reduce improper prescribing.

Key results

  • 28.0% of the cohort was delivered by CD.
  • Women with CD were more likely to receive opioids (97.7% vs 30.7%; P<.0001>
  • The amount of opioids prescribed varied among hospitals.

Study design

  • Retrospective study.
  • Cohort was taken from 6 US hospitals in a 3-month period (4248 patients).
  • The primary outcome was postpartum opioid prescription at the time of hospital discharge.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Limitations

  • Incomplete data limited the analysis.
  • Not known if opioids were taken or only prescribed.