Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Management: A Review of Recent Evidence

Author(s): Matthew Grossman*, Carl Seashore, Alison Volpe Holmes.

Journal Name: Reviews on Recent Clinical Trials

Volume 12 , Issue 4 , 2017

Abstract:

Background: The evaluation and management of infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), the constellation of opioid withdrawal specific to newborns, have received renewed attention over the past decade during a new epidemic of opioid use, misuse, abuse, and dependence. Infants with NAS often endure long and costly hospital stays.

Objective: We aim to review recent literature on the management and outcomes of infants with, and at risk for, opioid withdrawal.

Methods: We reviewed articles indexed in PubMed over the past 5 years that examined interventions and/or outcomes related to the management of infants with NAS. Thirty-seven studies were included in our review comprising 8 categories: 1) identification of infants at risk for NAS, 2) prenatal factors, 3) evaluation of signs and symptoms, 4) non-pharmacologic care, including rooming-in and breastfeeding, 5) standardization of traditional protocols, 6) pharmacologic management, 7) alternative treatment approaches, and 8) long-term outcomes.

Results: Non-pharmacologic interventions, standardization of traditional protocols, and alternative treatment approaches were all associated with improved outcomes. Lengths of stay were generally lowest in the studies of non-pharmacologic interventions. Patients exposed to buprenorphine in utero tended to have better short-term outcomes than those exposed to methadone. Longer-term outcomes for infants with NAS appear to be worse than those of control groups.

Conclusion: The current epidemic necessitates both continued research, and the application of new evidence-based practices in the assessment and treatment of newborns exposed to opioids in utero. Projects focused on non-pharmacologic interventions appear to hold the most promise.

Keywords: Drug withdrawal, infants, methadone, NAS, neonatal abstinence syndrome, opiate/opioid withdrawal, prenatal factors.

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Article Details

VOLUME: 12
ISSUE: 4
Year: 2017
Page: [226 - 232]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/1574887112666170816144818
Price: $58

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