Four Things to Consider When Prescribing Opioids to Women of Reproductive Age
CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published a study in January 2015, where researchers found that during 2008–2012, on average, 28% of women aged 15-44 years with private health insurance and 39% of women with Medicaid filled a prescription written by a healthcare provider for an opioid medication. This is important information for healthcare providers, pharmacists, and women, because taking these medications early in pregnancy, often before women know they are pregnant, can increase the risk for some birth defects and other poor pregnancy outcomes (such as preterm birth or low birth weight). In this video, CDC Pharmacist/Epidemiologist Jennifer N. Lind, PharmD, MPH addresses the Four Things to Consider When Prescribing Opioids to Women of Reproductive Age. Please visit the CDC’s Treating for Two Initiative that is aimed at providing better information to women and their healthcare providers about medication use during pregnancy. www.cdc.gov/treatingfortwo
- According to a recent MMWR from CDC
during 2008 through 2012
more than 1/4 of privately insured,
and over 1/3 of medicated enrolled women
age 15 to 44 years filled a prescription
written by a healthcare provider for an opioid medication.
The most commonly prescribed opioids were
hydrocodone, codeine, and oxycodone.
Opioid use in early pregnancy can lead to
birth defects and other adverse pregnancy outcomes.
CDC recommends that healthcare providers
discuss the potential risks and benefits
of opioid medication use with women of reproductive age
prior to prescribing.
Four things every healthcare provider should consider
when prescribing opioid medications
to women of reproductive age are
first, avoid using opioids as first line therapy.
Explore all treatment options before considering opioids
and only use opioids after other treatment options
have proven ineffective.
Second, be careful about duration.
Prescribe and dispense opioid medications
for the shortest duration possible.
Third, prescribe the lowest effective dose,
being sure to carefully monitor pain
and treatment progress.
And fourth, discuss effective contraception
with women who are sexually active
to reduce their risk of becoming pregnant
while taking opioid medications.
The CDC initiative Treating for Two
Safer Medication Use in Pregnancy
aims to prevent birth defects
and improve the health of mothers
by working to identify the best alternatives for treatment
of common conditions, including pain during pregnancy.