Ob-Gyns Opioid Prescribing Practices Need Improvement

Improvement in obstetrician-gynecologists' knowledge and prescribing practices regarding opioids is needed.

HealthDay News — Improvement in obstetrician-gynecologists’ knowledge and prescribing practices regarding opioids is needed, according to a study published online in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Annetta M. Madsen, MD, from Brown University in Providence, RI, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional survey of a national sample of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists fellows and junior fellows; 179 of 300 sampled members responded. Data were obtained on opioid knowledge and typical prescribing practices, including adherence to 4 recommended practices.

The researchers found that across all indications combined, respondents reported prescribing a median of 26 pills per patient, with variation by indication for the prescription.

Ninety-eight percent prescribed opioids after surgery; 22%, 30%, 24%, and 18%, respectively, prescribed opioids for vaginal birth, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and chronic pelvic pain of unknown cause. Nineteen percent of respondents reported adherence to 3 or more of the 4 recommended practices.

No significant difference was seen in the median number of pills prescribed for those who reported adherence to at least 1 recommended practice vs no adherence (25% vs 28%; P =.58). Eighty-one percent of respondents incorrectly identified the main source of misused opioids, which was via diversion from a friend or family member. Forty-four percent did not know how to dispose of unused prescription opioids correctly.

“This study highlights an urgent need for increased efforts to improve ob-gyns’ knowledge of opioid use, misuse, disposal, and best prescribing practices,” the authors write.

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Madsen AM, Stark LM, Has P, et al. Opioid knowledge and prescribing practices among obstetrician-gynecologists [published online December 04, 2017]. Obstet & Gynecol. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002407