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THURSDAY, June 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Women are routinely prescribed more opioid painkillers than they need after Cesarean sections, creating a high risk for misuse, a trio of new studies suggests.

C-sections are the most common inpatient surgery in the United States, with 1.3 million procedures performed a year, according to the researchers. But there is little data on how much medicine patients actually need to manage their pain. To that end, how many pills are prescribed varies from provider to provider, the researchers added.

More care is needed to limit the amount of leftover drugs that could wind up in the wrong hands, the studies concluded. Most people who use opioids for nonmedical reasons get them from friends and relatives who have unused medication. And patients may not lock their leftovers away, putting young children at risk.

“We are the source of these excess opioids, and we need to do more to restrain that, but we really need to tailor that so the individual gets what they need. Our take-home point is we don’t want one-size-fits-all prescribing,” said Dr. Sarah Osmundson, who led one of the three studies. She’s an assistant professor of maternal-fetal medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.


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