Academic Detailing for Postpartum Opioid Prescribing

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Introduction:Overprescribing opioid pain medications has become a major concern in our society due to the increasing rates of substance use disorders and the rate of accidental overdoses. The widespread availability of opioid medications suggests that patients are being prescribed opioids in amounts larger than they require for pain control. Efforts are now being made on a variety of fronts to decrease overprescribing.Material and Methods:A quality-improvement model was applied to address this concern at one medical center in women being discharged from the hospital following childbirth. The rates and amounts at which opioids were prescribed to this population before and after an academic detailing intervention were compared.Results:The overall percentage of women who received prescriptions for opioid medications decreased from 100% to 93% in cesarean sections (P= .054) and 15% to 9% in vaginal deliveries (P= .03). The average prescription size decreased by 5 tablets (P< .0001).Implications:Simple quality-improvement methods may have a positive impact on opioid prescribing patterns, including decreasing the percentage of opioids postdelivery or the quantity of opioids per prescription.

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