Does opioid maintenance treatment during pregnancy harm newborns?

A new Pharmacology Research & Perspectives study found no harm to newborns from opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) during pregnancy compared with no treatment.

Because little is known about the safety of treatment with methadone and buprenorphine as part of OMT in pregnant women with opioid use disorders, researchers compared prenatally OMT-exposed newborns with two other newborn groups: newborns of women hospitalized with opioid use disorder during pregnancy who were not receiving OMT and newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome (which a baby experiences when withdrawing from exposure to opioids).

The growth parameters (birth weight, length, and head circumference) in newborns were similar in the OMT and the comparison groups. Due to the benefits of OMT for individuals with drug addiction, the findings support the prescription of OMT drugs to pregnant women with opioid use disorders.

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