Black, Hispanic women receive fewer opioid medication despite higher postpartum pain, new Feinberg study finds

Amy Li, Campus Editor

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Black and Hispanic women receive fewer opioid medications postpartum despite reporting higher pain levels, according to a new study co-authored by Feinberg Prof. Nevert Badreldin.

The study was published Nov. 6 in the journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and found that black and Hispanic women are less likely to receive a prescription for an opioid than white women — and those who receive pain medication received significantly fewer morphine milligram equivalents than white patients.

Women often use medications to manage pain following delivery.

Badreldin, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, said the two findings in conjunction suggest the disparities in pain management between black and Hispanic women and white women cannot be explained by less perceived pain.

She said though the reasons for the disparities are likely complex, one way to address the differences is to encourage more standardized approaches to postpartum pain management.

The publication is co-authored by Feinberg Profs. Lynn Lee and William Grobman and retroactively looked at 9,900 deliveries at a large academic medical center from Dec. 1, 2015 to Nov. 30, 2016, the release said. The research was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

“Acknowledging the presence of racial and ethnic disparities in postpartum pain management is the first step to addressing why it exists and how we can stop it,” Badreldin said in a University release.

Email: amyli2021@u.northwestern.edu

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