Pain Management in the Opioid-Dependent Pregnant Woman

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Abstract

Opioid dependence is an epidemic in the United States, and the percentage of pregnant women who are opioid dependent has increased dramatically in the last decade. Pain management, already a concern for intrapartum and postpartum care, is complicated in the context of opioid dependence. This clinical review surveys the literature on pain management in opioid-dependent pregnant women to summarize current consensus and evidence to guide clinical practice. Points of consensus for pain management in opioid-dependent pregnant women include continual opioid maintenance therapy throughout the pregnancy and the postpartum period; adequate management of acute pain; the contraindication of opioid agonist-antagonists for pain management; and the need for interdisciplinary teams using a multimodal approach to provide optimal care to opioid-dependent pregnant women.

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