Limiting Leftovers: Analysis of Usage and Storage Patterns of Opiate Medication after Cesarean Delivery [37R]

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Limiting excess opiate medication in the community should be a focus of all physicians including Ob-Gyns. Patient’s pain medication usage and home storage patterns following Cesarean delivery may provide insight into limiting accessibility to leftover medication.


A single site, prospective cohort study was initiated to survey postpartum women regarding their post Cesarean pain control, medication usage and storage patterns. Patients were eligible if they underwent cesarean section at Tufts Medical Center, were >18 years old and had a valid email address. The automated survey was sent via the RedCap database at 2 weeks postpartum.


The initial 100 survey responses from 177 recruited subjects were reviewed, 98 of which had usable data (response rate of 55.4%). Of responders, 63.3% underwent a primary cesarean section. Most patients (75.5%) indicated they only took opiate medication for 7 days or less. Opiate storage information was available on 95% of respondents as follows; 25.5% bathroom, 40.8% bedroom, 22.4% kitchen and 9.2% other. Specific location indicated 34.7% storing their medication in a closed space (cabinet or drawer), of which only 39% used any form of lock. Medication disposal plans included the following: 8% flushing medication, 11.2% return to a designated facility, 10.2% planned on keeping them and 28.6% were unsure.


There are a significant amount of leftover opiate pills associated with cesarean delivery being stored in unsecured locations. Patient education regarding safe storage and subsequent disposal of opiate medication should be initiated.

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