WEDNESDAY, March 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Women who take less opioid pain medication in the 24-hour period before being discharged from the hospital after a cesarean delivery also use less opioid medication during the four weeks following discharge, according to a study published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Jacqueline A. Carrico, M.D., from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, and colleagues quantified opioid use for four weeks following hospital discharge after cesarean delivery based on health records and patient self-reported total opioid use postdischarge (203 patients).

The researchers found that postdischarge, 113 patients were high opioid users (>75 milligram morphine equivalents [MMEs]) and 90 patients were low users (≤75 MMEs). Low opioid users received, on average, 44 percent fewer opioids in the 24 hours before discharge versus high opioid users (mean: 33.0 versus 59.3 MMEs). Less than 16 percent of patients reported storing leftover opioids in a locked location, and just 31 patients disposed of leftover opioids.

“Knowledge of predischarge opioid use can be useful as a tool to inform individualized opioid prescriptions, help optimize nonopioid analgesia, and reduce opioid use,” the authors write.

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