A new Vanderbilt study finds almost half of new moms are getting an opioid prescription after giving birth and these prescriptions could lead to chronic opioid use for thousands of women in Tennessee.
More than 100,000 women enrolled in Tennessee Medicaid were examined to see their opioid use after child birth.
“I have met people who said you know the inciting evening was my C-section and I developed this dependency on opioids,” Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt Dr. Sarah Osmundson said.
Osmundson says for they study they considered chronic opioid use a woman who filled a prescription every 45 days continuously following delivery.
"We found that women who received at least one prescription, or especially people who received a second prescription following delivery were at much higher risk for chronic use following child birth, that was regardless of if you had a C-section or a vaginal delivery,” Osmundson said. “I think coming into this I thought that it would more have to do with a surgical procedure and maybe pain associated with that procedure that lead to chronic use, but I think our findings found it’s more the prescribing.”
Osmundson said the study revealed half of new moms receive an opioid prescription after discharge, and although a majority won’t develop chronic use they predict 21,000 women a year in Tennessee could develop chronic use.
"I think it's really important for women to understand to take the least amount they need,” Osmundson said.
Osmundson says Ibuprofen and Motrin are great alternatives, and can be used to help stop the use of opioids after the first week.
“I think that’s the place as providers we can really intervene and think about how we can more carefully prescribe opioids,” Osmundson said. “I don't know that the answer is no prescribing or two pills but there's a big difference between five pills and 30 pills."
Vanderbilt’s pharmacy is a drug take back center for people looking to get rid of extra medication.
The DEA has a list of controlled substance disposal locations on it’s website: https://apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/spring/main?execution=e1s1