The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Search Lit Reviews

Opiate treatment for opiate withdrawal in newborn infants

SAMHSA's Library of Literature Reviews

Neonatal abstinence syndrome due to opiate withdrawal due to maternal opiate use in pregnancy may be effectively treated using an opiate such as morphine or dilute tincture of opium. When compared to supportive care alone, opiates reduce the time to regain birth weight and reduce the duration of supportive care needed, but increase the duration of hospital stay. When compared to diazepam, opiates reduce the incidence of treatment failure. Studies comparing opiates to sedatives suggest that opiates may reduce the duration of treatment and admission to the nursery.

These results are from a review of seven studies enrolling a total of 585 infants of mothers who had used opiates with or without other drugs during pregnancy. The authors conclude that opiates should probably be used as initial treatment for opiate withdrawal in newborn infants, but that studies are required to determine which opiate is most effective and what treatment threshold should be used.

Adverse effects: Addressed as primary outcomes.

Original article: Osborn DA, Jeffery HE, Cole M. Opiate treatment for opiate withdrawal in newborn infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005; Issue 3. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002059.pub2

Keywords (MeSH): Humans [checkword] Diazepam [therapeutic use] Infant, Newborn Narcotics [therapeutic use] Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome [drug therapy] Opioid-Related Disorders [drug therapy] Phenobarbital [therapeutic use] Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic Hm-neonatal

Setting: Hospital

Age group: Infants

Gender: Both

PubMed ID:16034871