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AJP Rep. 2017 Oct;7(4):e215-e222. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1608783. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

Buprenorphine for Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnancy: Relationship to Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome.

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Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky.
University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Lexington, Kentucky.
Department of Behavioral Science and Psychiatry, Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky.


Objective  To examine the relationship between antepartum buprenorphine dose for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) of opioid use disorder (OUD) and incident neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). Study Design  We performed a prospective cohort study of pregnant women with a singleton gestation diagnosed with OUD and receiving buprenorphine for MAT at a tertiary care academic institution from July 2015 to January 2017. We divided the study cohort into two groups-pregnancies with versus without NOWS. Substance abuse patterns in pregnancy, maternal, and neonatal clinical outcomes were compared. Results  The incidence of NOWS was 31.11% ( n  = 28/90) in our study cohort. Pregnancies with NOWS had a significantly higher rate of benzodiazepine positive urine tests and number of positive urine drug screen (UDS) results for illicit opioids. The group without NOWS had significantly higher number of patients with an appropriate UDS result at delivery through postpartum. Rates of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission, length of NICU stay, and maximum Finnegan score were significantly higher in the group with NOWS. Neither the initial (10.6 ± 5.2 versus 10.3 ± 4.8 mg, p  = 0.80) nor the final buprenorphine doses (13.3 ± 5.1 versus 13.0 ± 4.6 mg, p  = 0.81) were significantly different between study groups. Conclusion  The occurrence of NOWS was not related to buprenorphine dose used for MAT.


buprenorphine; medication assisted treatment (MAT); neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS); opioid use disorder (OUD)

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