Are Doctors Too Quick to Prescribe Narcotics to Pregnant Women?

November 4th, 2014 at 7:00 am

addictive drugs, hydrocodone, narcotic painkillers, opioids for pain, oxycodone, pregnant women, prescribe narcotics, prescribe narcotics to pregnant women, propoxyphene, Westport medical malpractice attorneyA recent medical study reveals an alarming increase in the amount of narcotic painkillers that are being prescribed to pregnant women. Researchers involved with the study are calling for more research to be done to determine what health risks these strongly addictive drugs may have on the women’s unborn children.

The study was conducted at Harvard Medical School by analyzing the medical data of more than 500,000 pregnant women who had been prescribed opioids for pain and discomfort. This data came from a commercial insurance plan from which the women were enrolled. The average age of the women was 31 years old.

Some of the factors the research team looked at included the most common medications prescribed, the most frequent medical complaints for which the drugs were prescribed, and what, if any, difference did geographical location make.

The most common condition doctors prescribed these narcotics for was back pain—almost 40 percent. Other medical complaints that doctors felt necessitated opioids were joint pain, abdominal pain and fibromyalgia.

The most common drug prescribed was hydrocodone (Vicodin), which was given to 6.8 percent of the women. Six percent were given codeine, 2 percent were given oxycodone (Oxycodone), and propoxyphene (Darvon) was given to another 1.6 percent.

The heaviest concentration of prescriptions were given to women who lived in the southern part of the country, with Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi each having rates at 20 percent or more.

The lead researcher, Dr. Brian Bateman, wrote, “Nearly all women experience some pain during pregnancy. However, the safety of using opioids … remains unclear. Ultimately, we need more data to assess the risk/benefit ratio of prescribing these drugs to women and how it may affect their babies.”

If you have been prescribed medication that has caused serious side-effects, or a medication has caused your condition to worsen, contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for pain and loss.

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