Postpartum Utilization of Narcotics for Analgesia [29K]

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The number of deaths from opioid overdose has dramatically increased in recent years and one factor is the increase in prescription narcotics. This study aims to assess the amount of narcotics women utilize post-Cesarean and identify factors that affect pain control.


Women were contacted via telephone 10–12 days after delivery and verbally consented to participate. They were asked questions ranging from severity of postoperative pain to amount of narcotics used since discharge. At the completion of the survey, demographics, postoperative pain and medication usage were collected. Women using methadone or buprenorphine were excluded.


There were one hundred women in the study. Mean narcotic usage was 92.4±90.4 mg morphine equivalents inpatient and 15.2±32.2 mg outpatient. More women with commercial insurance felt they had been prescribed too many pills compared to women with Medicaid (40.0% versus 20.0%, P=.002), while women with anxiety and/or depression more often felt that they were not given enough (2.4% versus 22.2%, P=.04). No other factors were significant. Women who used more narcotics inpatient tended to required more outpatient, however no clinically relevant cut-offs could be found. Most commonly prescribed amount was 30 pills and 5.8% of women given 20 pills or less felt that they did not have enough.


The amount of opioids prescribed is likely too much for most patients. Having this information will better guide physicians in our community to minimize amount of opioids prescribed without compromising patient's pain. Pain control in women with anxiety and depression needs further attention.

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