The impact of the Florida State law House Bill 21 (HB 21) restricting the duration of opioid prescriptions for acute pain in patients after cesarean delivery is unknown. Our objective was to assess the association of the passage of Florida State law HB 21 with trends in discharge opioid prescription practices following cesarean delivery, necessity for additional opioid prescriptions, and emergency department visits at a large tertiary care center.
This was a retrospective cohort study conducted at a large, public hospital. The 2 cohorts represented the period before and after implementation of the law. Using a confounder-adjusted segmented regression analysis of an interrupted time series, we evaluated the association between HB 21 and trends in the proportions of patients receiving opioids on discharge, duration of opioid prescriptions, total opioid dose prescribed, and daily opioid dose prescribed. We also compared the need for additional opioid prescriptions within 30 days of discharge and the prevalence of emergency department visits within 7 days after discharge.
Eight months after implementation of HB 21, the mean duration of opioid prescriptions decreased by 2.9 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.2–0.5) and the mean total opioid dose decreased by 20.1 morphine milligram equivalents (MME; 95% CI, 4–36.3). However, there was no change in the proportion of patients receiving discharge opioids (95% CI of difference, −0.1 to 0.16) or in the mean daily opioid dose (mean difference, 5.3 MME; 95% CI, −13 to 2.4). After implementation of the law, there were no changes in the proportion of patients who required additional opioid prescriptions (2.1% vs 2.3%; 95% CI of difference, −1.2 to 1.5) or in the prevalence of emergency department visits (2.4% vs 2.2%; 95% CI of difference, −1.6 to 1.1).
Implementation of Florida Law HB 21 was associated with a lower total prescribed opioid dose and a shorter duration of therapy at the time of hospital discharge following cesarean delivery. These reductions were not associated with the need for additional opioid prescriptions or emergency department visits.