Scheduled acetaminophen with as-needed opioids compared to as-needed acetaminophen plus opioids for post-cesarean pain management

A. R. Valentine, B. Carvalho, T. A. Lazo, E. T. Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Background: Combination opioid-acetaminophen drugs are commonly used for pain management after cesarean delivery. The aim of this study was to determine if scheduled acetaminophen decreases opioid use compared to as-needed combination acetaminophen-opioid administration. Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of women who underwent cesarean delivery before and after a clinical practice change. All patients received spinal anesthesia containing intrathecal morphine 200 lg and scheduled non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs for 48 h postoperatively. The first group (As-Needed Group, n=120) received combination oral opioidacetaminophen analgesics as needed for breakthrough pain. The second group (Scheduled Group, n=120) received oral acetaminophen 650 mg every 6 h for 48 h postoperatively with oral oxycodone administered as needed for breakthrough pain. The primary outcome was opioid use, measured in intravenous morphine mg equivalents, in the first 48 h postoperatively. Results: The Scheduled Group used 9.1 ± 2.1 mg (95% CI 5.0-13.2) fewer intravenous morphine equivalents than the As-Needed Group (P <0.0001) over the study period. Fewer patients in the Scheduled Group exceeded acetaminophen 3 g daily compared to the As-Needed Group (P=0.008). Pain scores were similar between study groups. Conclusions: After cesarean delivery, scheduled acetaminophen results in decreased opioid use and more consistent acetaminophen intake compared to acetaminophen administered as needed via combination acetaminophen-opioid analgesics, without compromising analgesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-216
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetaminophen
  • Cesarean section
  • Multimodal analgesia
  • Opioids
  • Postoperative analgesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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