Clinical Edge

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Opioid Prescribing Practices Among OB-GYNs

Obstet Gynecol; ePub 2017 Dec 4; Madsen, et al

The amount of opioid analgesics prescribed by obstetrician-gynecologists varies widely by indication but not by reported adherence to recommended prescribing practices, a recent study found. The cross-sectional survey analyzed data on opioid knowledge and typical prescribing practices, including number, type, and indication for prescriptions. Adherence to 4 recommended practices was evaluated: 1) screening for dependence, 2) prescribing the smallest amount required, 3) tailoring prescriptions, and 4) counseling on proper disposal. Researchers found:

  • 60% (170/300) of sampled members responded to the survey.
  • Respondents reported prescribing a median of 26 pills per patients across all indications combined.
  • 98% prescribed opioids after surgery and a smaller proportion for nonsurgical indications.
  • Only 19% reported adherence to ≥3 recommended practices.
  • 81% incorrectly identified the main source of misused opioids and 44% did not know how to properly dispose of unused prescription opioids.


Madsen AM, Stark LM, Has P, Emerson JB, Schulkin J, Matteson KA. Opioid knowledge and prescribing practices among obstetrician-gynecologists. [Published online ahead of print December 4, 2017]. Obstet Gynecol. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002407.