Buprenorphine treatment produces improved outcome for babies born addicted

Dec 09, 2010

Babies born into the world addicted to drugs because of their mother's dependence on pain medication, or opioids, may be weaned off the substance more comfortably, with a shorter hospital stay and at a reduced cost, if the mother receives a new treatment option during pregnancy.

A study published Dec. 9, co-authored by Vanderbilt's Peter Martin, M.D., director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry, found that the newer buprenorphine is at least as good for both mother and child as the standard care , when both were combined with comprehensive care treatment of opioid dependence in .

"The baby comes into the world addicted to what the mother was taking," Martin said.
"And everyone who comes in touch with these unfortunate realizes that they are very uncomfortable and incessantly restless.

"From this study we can say that both the mothers and the babies did equally well taking buprenorphine or methadone.

"However, we demonstrated a statistically significant improvement above the standard of care in important outcomes in the babies of mothers who received buprenorphine during the pregnancy compared to those who were administered methadone," he said.

The eight site, international, double-blind, double-dummy, flexible-dosing, randomized controlled trial is part of the MOTHER project, which stands for Maternal Opioid Treatment: Human Experimental Research.

Buprenorphine had previously not been well studied in pregnancy, although it is now widely prescribed to treat opioid addiction.

"It was only a matter of time before women who were receiving buprenorphine while they become pregnant were faced with the decision to continue it or change to methadone, the standard of care," Martin said.

"For this reason, it was considered very important to determine whether buprenorphine was at least as safe as methadone, so that doctors would know how to advise their patients."

Study results showed that babies of mothers who received compared to those who received methadone throughout pregnancy needed significantly less morphine to treat their neonatal abstinence syndrome, had shorter hospital stays (10 days vs. 17.5 days), and shorter duration of treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome (4.1 days vs. 9.9. days).

The authors state that improved treatment options should reduce the public health and medical costs associated with the treatment of neonates exposed to opioids, estimated at $70.6 million to $112.6 million in 2009 in the United States.

Explore further: El Nino stunts children's growth in Peru

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Addicts helped by implanted devices: study

Oct 12, 2010

Persons addicted to heroin or prescription pain killers can get help kicking their habit by using an implanted device under the skin that delivers small doses of medication, researchers reported Tuesday.

Longer-lasting options to treat drug addiction

Oct 18, 2010

(AP) -- New treatments for addiction to heroin or narcotic painkillers promise longer-lasting relief that may remove some day-to-day uncertainty of care: A once-a-month shot is now approved and a six-month implant is in ...

Recommended for you

ER visits on the rise, study reports

8 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The number of emergency department visits in the United States rose from about 130 million in 2010 to a record 136 million in 2011, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.