Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Opioid Prescription & Use After Cesarean Delivery

Obstet Gynecol; ePub 2017 Jun 6; Bateman, et al

Most women discharged after cesarean delivery are prescribed opioids for pain, and the amount of opioid prescribed generally exceeds the amount consumed by a significant margin, leading to substantial amounts of leftover opioid medication, a recent study found. A survey at 6 academic medical centers in the US from September 2014 to March 2016 included women who had undergone a cesarean delivery and inquired as to the opioid prescription they received on discharge and their oral opioid intake while at home. Researchers found:

  • 720 women were included; 615 (85.4%) filled an opioid prescription.
  • The median number of dispensed opioid tablets was 40, the median number consumed was 20, and leftover was 15.
  • 95.3% of women with leftover opioids had not disposed of the excess medications at the time of the interview.
  • The quantity of opioids dispensed did not correlate with patient satisfaction, pain control, or the need to refill the opioid prescription.


Bateman BT, Cole NM, Maeda A, et al. Patterns of opioid prescription and use after cesarean delivery. [Published online ahead of print June 6, 2017]. Obstet Gynecol. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002093.