Factors associated with opioid prescriptions among women proximal to pregnancy in the United States

Guanming Chen, Chris Delcher, Hong Xiao, Dikea Roussos-Ross, Jinhai Huo, Xinguang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Pregnant women are a vulnerable population exposed to opioids in the United States. Objective: To examine trends and factors associated with opioid prescribing to women proximal to pregnancy. Methods: The 2011 to 2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) was used to identify participants (n = 3020) with self-reported pregnancy or pregnancy-relevant events aged between 18 and 44 years old. To investigate factors associated with opioid prescriptions, we categorized participants into two subgroups: having one or more opioid prescription or having none during the observational period. We used survey multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with opioid prescribing accounting for the complex survey design in MEPS. Results: From 2011 to 2015, the prevalence of opioid prescribing among study participants was 31%. Opioids were more likely to be prescribed to women who had psychiatric conditions (odds ratio, 1,76, 95%CI: 1.27-2.44, p < 0.001). Other significant factors included being non-Hispanic white or black, living in the South, active tobacco users, and those with lower Physical Component Summary Scores. Conclusion: Receipt of an opioid prescription in the perinatal period is associated with maternal psychiatric disorders in the United States. Study findings add new data to the literature on opioid use among pregnant women and provide evidence for healthcare providers and policy makers to tailor treatment and educational programs to avoid opioid overuse among pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1483-1488
Number of pages6
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Healthcare
  • Opioid use
  • Pregnant women
  • Psychiatry
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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