Research project aims to study opioid prescriptions after cesarean delivery and hysterectomy

Each year, approximately 1.8 million women will have a cesarean delivery or hysterectomy. While opioids are the mainstay treatment for acute pain after these surgeries, most women use only a fraction of the opioids prescribed and do not properly dispose of unused drugs.

Researchers at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, and Brown University seek to address this problem and have received a 2018 Seed Award from the Brown Office of the Vice President for Research for their project, "'Right-sizing' opioid prescription post-cesarean delivery and hysterectomy: Balancing excess medication and patient pain control." Principal Investigator is Patricia Risica, DrPH, associate professor of behavioral and social sciences and associate professor of epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health; and co-principal investigator is Kristen A. Matteson, MD, MPH, director of the Division of Research for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Matteson is a member of the Care New England Medical Group.

The specific aims of this project are: to conduct formative research with prescribing physicians, nurses, and patients; to use this information to create two web-based interventions - one for prescribers encouraging right-sized opioid prescribing and one for cesarean delivery and hysterectomy patients to encourage appropriate use and excess medication disposal; to pilot test these new interventions and estimate their efficacy by comparing the amount of opioids prescribed, those not consumed, pain scores, and appropriate disposal of excess medications.

"Dr. Risica and I look forward to working together on this project to develop an effective intervention to promote adherence to best practices for opioid prescribing that is informed by the experiences of the potential consumers of the intervention: patients and health care providers," stated Dr. Matteson.

"An effective intervention to promote 'right-sized' opioid prescriptions after cesarean delivery and hysterectomy has the potential for extrapolation to other surgical settings to widely address optimal opioid prescribing post-operatively, which would advance Brown University's position as a center of excellence in addressing the opioid epidemic," said the researchers in their application.


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