CDC warns of high opioid use by women of childbearing age


By John Fauber
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
January 23, 2015

Narcotic painkillers — which can cause birth defects — commonly were prescribed for women of reproductive age, according to new data presented Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The research, which looked at the years 2008-2012, found that 39% of women ages 15 to 44 on Medicaid and 28% of those on private insurance received an opioid prescription.

“Many women of reproductive age are taking these medicines and may not know they are pregnant and therefore may be unknowingly exposing their unborn child,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement.

The most commonly prescribed drugs were hydrocodone, codeine and oxycodone…

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