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J Am Board Fam Med. 2011 Mar-Apr;24(2):194-201. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2011.02.100155.

Observational study of buprenorphine treatment of opioid-dependent pregnant women in a family medicine residency: reports on maternal and infant outcomes.

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the Maine Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency, Augusta, ME 04330.



Within a family medicine residency, an outpatient buprenorphine treatment program was provided for pregnant women who were dependent on opioids. The purpose of this study was to investigate the outcomes of infants who were exposed to a range of doses of buprenorphine in utero and to determine how closely observed maternal/fetal outcomes (eg, method of delivery and infants requiring treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome [NAS]) match those previously reported in the literature.


This study consists of a retrospective case series of 23 infants born to 22 pregnant women who were dependent on opioids and who were treated with buprenorphine during a 31-month period.


Thirty-five percent of infants (8 of 23) required treatment for NAS. There was no significant relationship between maternal dose of buprenorphine and birth weight, NAS severity (ie, peak NAS score), or time to first peak NAS score. Infants born to tobacco users had a significantly lower birth weight (P = .0136) than infants born to nonusers. Seventy percent of infants (16 of 23) were breastfeeding at the time of discharge from the hospital.


The observations made in this case series are consistent with data previously reported in the literature. Infants in this study were more likely to be breastfed than those previously described by others, but further analysis is necessary to determine whether this finding is significant.

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