- Women are more likely to have chronic pain, be prescribed prescription painkillers, be given higher doses, and use them for longer time periods than men.
- More than 5 times as many women died from prescription painkiller overdoses in 2010 as in 1999.
- Women may become dependent on prescription painkillers more quickly than men.
- Women may be more likely than men to engage in “doctor shopping” (obtaining prescriptions from multiple prescribers).
- Abuse of prescription painkillers by pregnant women can put an infant at risk. Cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)—which is a group of problems that can occur in newborns exposed to prescription painkillers or other drugs while in the womb—grew by almost 300% in the US between 2000 and 2009.
What Women Can Do:
- Discuss all medications they are taking (including over-the-counter) with their health care provider.
- Use prescription drugs only as directed by a health care provider, and store them in a secure place.
- Dispose of medications properly, as soon as the course of treatment is done. Do not keep prescription medications around “just in case.” (See www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Poisoning/preventiontips.htm)
- Help prevent misuse and abuse by not selling or sharing prescription drugs. Never use another person’s prescription drugs.
- Discuss pregnancy plans with their health care provider before taking prescription painkillers.
- Get help for prescription drug problems.
If you or a loved one needs help, contact Jeff at (941) 586-0929
This information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.