Mothers getting C-sections opting for non-addictive painkillers

Opioid Crisis

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The opioid crisis has been fueled in part by overprescribing certain medications. To stop even the potential for addiction, hospitals are changing practices, and doctors say it’s important for patients to be educated, too.

A new Cleveland Clinic report says many women who have to get C-sections, prefer avoiding opioids altogether, opting for less addictive alternatives.

Two years ago, Joei Askey had an unplanned C-section.

“It was probably the most painful thing I’ve ever been through, the recovery,” Askey said. “They want you to stand up right away afterward, and that was really rough.”

It’s why many doctors prescribe their patients opioids afterward.

“The doctor who had delivered my son came in and said that I could have a prescription for whatever the off-brand is for Vicodin,” Askey said.

Addiction medicine specialist Dr. Sarah Kawasaki says that’s not always needed.

“It is thankfully limited by the new CDC guidelines that restrict the prescribing of opioids to five to seven days after a surgical procedure,” Kawasaki said.

Kawasaki says ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or a combination of both should be enough to help women recover.

“Pregnancy and childbirth can be an extremely traumatic experience for mom, and to give her medication in that context, I think can put people who are predisposed to addiction at unnecessary risk,” Kawasaki said.

Askey told her doctor that she was already tired, unsure of side effects and didn’t want the pills.

“He kept saying like ‘yeah, yeah, you’ll need this. Just take it,'” Askey said. “And he brought it up every time he came into the room until finally right before I was discharged, he said ‘Well I’m writing you the prescription for it.'”

She never filled it and took ibuprofen instead.

“It’s important that patients ask and say ‘Hey do I really need these medicines? What are the potential side effects? What are the potential risk factors? So that they know what medicine is right for them,” Kawasaki said.

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