Are Opioids Necessary After a C-Section?

Women who have a cesarean delivery may experience less pain by taking a non-opioid analgesic rather than an opioid medication.

Researchers enrolled about 200 women who were going to have a c-section. The women were randomized to receive either opioids or a combination of Advil (ibuprofen) every six hours and Tylenol (acetaminophen) every four hours. Mothers in the second group could ask for an opioid if pain was still significant.

Results, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that two to four weeks after giving birth, women who didn’t take opioids had less pain compared with those in the opioid group. Women who took opioids were also more likely to experience side effects, the most common being drowsiness and constipation.

The results indicate that opioids don’t need to always be prescribed following a c-section. Not doing so would help cut down potential misuse of opioids and reduce the chances of opioids being diverted to the general population.

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

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