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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1997 Nov;62(5):569-71.

Buprenorphine withdrawal syndrome in a newborn.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Hospital, Limoges, France.


A pregnant woman who was addicted to heroin rapidly withdrew from illicit drugs after the onset of a 4 mg/day buprenorphine treatment. In the newborn's blood, urine, and meconium 20 hours after birth, high concentrations of buprenorphine and its metabolite norbuprenorphine were detected, with a higher buprenorphine/norbuprenorphine ratio than in adults, possibly as a consequence of immature hepatic function; no illicit drugs were found. The child had a weak withdrawal syndrome on the second day of life and recovered rapidly. The measured buprenorphine daily dose ingested by the newborn through mother's milk was very low (3.28 micrograms) and probably had little pharmacologic effect because no withdrawal signs could be noted when maternal feeding was later abruptly interrupted. Further investigations are required to determine whether buprenorphine can be considered to be a good alternative to methadone in the treatment of pregnant heroin addicts to prevent marked withdrawal syndromes in newborns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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