Fewer Postpartum Opioids Won't Hinder Pain Control

Jake Remaly

February 11, 2020


GRAPEVINE, TEX. – The amount of opioids prescribed post partum may decline over time without affecting levels of pain control satisfaction, according to research presented at the meeting sponsored by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Data from a large center indicate that trends in opioid use significantly declined from 2017 to 2019, but not at the expense of adequate pain control, said Nevert Badreldin, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University in Chicago. Patients consistently reported that they were satisfied with inpatient pain control, while opioid use per inpatient day decreased from about 30 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) to less than 20 MME during that time.

To assess trends in postpartum opioid prescribing, opioid use, and pain control satisfaction, Dr Badreldin and colleagues evaluated data from a prospective observational study. Their analysis included data from women who used an opioid during postpartum hospitalization between May 2017 and July 2019. The researchers excluded women with NSAID or morphine allergies or recent opioid use, as well as those who received general anesthesia without concurrent neuraxial anesthesia, those who underwent peripartum hysterectomy, and women admitted to the ICU.

The investigators used nonparametric tests of trend to assess the difference over time in the proportion of patients who received an opioid prescription at discharge and in the total MME prescribed post partum.

Of 2,470 women screened, 60.2% did not use an opioid during inpatient hospitalization, and the proportion of women who did use an opioid during inpatient hospitalization significantly declined over time. Of 900 women with inpatient opioid use, 471 agreed to be followed after discharge. In that group, the amount of opioid use per inpatient day significantly declined. In addition, the percentage who received an opioid prescription at discharge significantly declined, as did the total MME prescribed at discharge.

"Both inpatient and outpatient satisfaction with pain control were unchanged," the researchers reported. "In this population, both the frequency and amount of opioid use in the postpartum period declined from 2017 to 2019, without any change in satisfaction with pain control."

The study was supported by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine/AMAG 2017 Health Policy Award, and a coauthor received support from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Source: Badreldin N et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Jan;222(1):S93, Abstract 120.

This story originally appeared on MDedge.com.

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