CME: Opioid Use & Infant Outcomes

CME: Opioid Use & Infant Outcomes

Recent data show that that the number of prescriptions being written for opioids to manage pain has quadrupled over the past decade in the United States. In 2012, it was estimated that 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, a figure that amounts to one prescription for every American adult currently living in the U.S. Research suggests that opioids are commonly prescribed in pregnancy, however studies evaluating their association with neonatal outcomes are limited. In the past, studies have described the effect of drug withdrawal on infants born to mothers who used drugs illicitly, such as heroin or among women receiving medication-assisted treatment. Few studies, however, have examined the dispensing of legal opioid prescriptions for pregnant women. “In light of the nation’s current prescription opioid epidemic, it’s important to look at how these drugs are used by pregnant women and its impact on outcomes for mothers and infants,” says Stephen W. Patrick, MD, MPH, MS.   Exploring the Issue In a study published in Pediatrics, Dr. Patrick and colleagues sought to identify neonatal complications that were associated with antenatal opioid exposure. The authors also examined predictors of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a drug withdrawal syndrome in infants following birth that—according to previous research—has been linked to about $720 million per year in national healthcare expenditures for treatment. Previously, studies have suggested that opioid use during pregnancy increases risks for NAS. The study group used prescription and administrative data that was linked to vital statistics for mothers and infants who were enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid program between 2009 and 2011. The authors then looked at a random sample of...
Opioid Use & Infant Outcomes

Opioid Use & Infant Outcomes

Recent data show that that the number of prescriptions being written for opioids to manage pain has quadrupled over the past decade in the United States. In 2012, it was estimated that 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, a figure that amounts to one prescription for every American adult currently living in the U.S. Research suggests that opioids are commonly prescribed in pregnancy, however studies evaluating their association with neonatal outcomes are limited. In the past, studies have described the effect of drug withdrawal on infants born to mothers who used drugs illicitly, such as heroin or among women receiving medication-assisted treatment. Few studies, however, have examined the dispensing of legal opioid prescriptions for pregnant women. “In light of the nation’s current prescription opioid epidemic, it’s important to look at how these drugs are used by pregnant women and its impact on outcomes for mothers and infants,” says Stephen W. Patrick, MD, MPH, MS.   Exploring the Issue In a study published in Pediatrics, Dr. Patrick and colleagues sought to identify neonatal complications that were associated with antenatal opioid exposure. The authors also examined predictors of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a drug withdrawal syndrome in infants following birth that—according to previous research—has been linked to about $720 million per year in national healthcare expenditures for treatment. Previously, studies have suggested that opioid use during pregnancy increases risks for NAS. The study group used prescription and administrative data that was linked to vital statistics for mothers and infants who were enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid program between 2009 and 2011. The authors then looked at a random sample of...