Bottom Line: Neonatal abstinence syndrome describes symptoms (including jitteriness, high-pitched crying, sweating and diarrhea) that primarily occur in newborns exposed to opioids during pregnancy. Finding an optimal drug therapy to treat newborns for neonatal abstinence syndrome may reduce the length of treatment and hospital stay. This study analyzed combined results from 18 randomized clinical trials that included morphine, the standard of care in most hospitals, and other medications to treat newborns for neonatal abstinence syndrome. Buprenorphine was associated with the shortest length of treatment but there were considerable limitations in the findings and a large trial is required for wide-scale adoption.
Author: Marsha Campbell-Yeo, Ph.D., Dalhousie University School of Nursing, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and coauthors
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