Comparison of Post-Cesarean Section Opioid Analgesic Requirements in Women With Opioid Use Disorder Treated With Methadone or Buprenorphine

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Buprenorphine is a highly effective treatment for opioid use disorders, but its continuation in the perioperative setting remains controversial, unlike the accepted practice of perioperative methadone continuation.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study from 2006 to 2014 comparing post-cesarean section opioid analgesic requirements of women with opioid use disorders treated with methadone or buprenorphine. Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative opioid requirements (morphine equivalent dose [MED]), postoperative complications, and length of stay were compared between the methadone and buprenorphine groups.


During the 9-year study period, there were 185 women treated with methadone (mean dose 93.7 mg, SD 2.6) and 88 women treated with buprenorphine (mean dose 16.1 mg, SD 7.8). There were no statistically significant differences in MED requirements in the methadone versus buprenorphine groups: preoperative MED (11.4 mg [SD 31.5] vs 20.0 mg [SD 15.1]; mean difference [MD] 8.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] −1.9, 19.1), intraoperative MED (3.5 mg [SD 6.6] vs 5.2 mg [SD 13.7]; MD 1.8, 95% CI −1.1, 4.6), and postoperative MED during hospitalization (97.7 mg [SD 65.6] vs 85.1 mg [SD 73.0]; MD −12.6, 95% CI −31.1, 5.8). There were no statistically significant differences in postoperative complications or length of stay.


Our study suggests that buprenorphine treatment will not interfere more than methadone with pain management after a cesarean section with no significant differences in opioid analgesic requirements, postoperative complications, or length of hospital stay. Future studies should investigate the generalizability to other surgeries.

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