Opioid-related disorders among pregnant women with sickle cell disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes

Francis Darlington, Benjamina Mbah Acha, Tasha Roshan, Charles Ikeanyionwu, Seun Kutse, Uzoamaka Abajue, Billy Osazuwa, Ian Gomez, Kiara K. Spooner, Jason L. Salemi, Deepa Dongarwar, Omonike A. Olaleye, Hamisu M. Salihu, Uche Anadu Ndefo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective. Opioid use during pregnancy has increased in recent years, parallel with the opioid epidemic in the general population. Opioids are commonly used as an analgesic for pain crisis, a hallmark symptom of sickle cell disease (SCD). With the amplified frequency and severity of SCD pain crisis during pregnancy, the use of opioids may increase concurrently. The aim of this study was to examine trends in opioid-related disorders (ORDs) among pregnant women with and without SCD, as well as assess the risk for preterm labor, maternal sepsis, and poor fetal growth among patients with SCD and ORD. Methods. We conducted a retrospective analysis of inpatient pregnancyand childbirth-related hospital discharge data from the 2002-2014 National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample database. The primary outcome was the risk of ORD in pregnant women with SCD and its impact on threatened preterm labor, fetal growth, and maternal sepsis. Results. Among the >57 million pregnancy-related hospitalizations examined, 9.6 per 10,000 had SCD. ORD in mothers with SCD was four times as prevalent as in those without SCD (2% vs 0.5%). A significant rise in ORD occurred throughout the study period and was associated with an increased risk of maternal sepsis, threatened preterm labor, and poor fetal growth. Conclusions. Pregnant women with SCD have a fourfold increased risk of ORD compared with their non-SCD counterparts. The current opioid epidemic continues to worsen in both groups, warranting a tailored and effective public health response to reduce the resulting adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3087-3093
Number of pages7
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2020


  • Opioid
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle Cell Disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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