Antenatal methadone vs buprenorphine exposure and length of hospital stay in infants admitted to the intensive care unit with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Multicenter Study)

OBJECTIVE: Antenatal exposure to methadone or buprenorphine often causes neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in newborns. However, comparative effects on affected infants' hospital courses are inconclusive. We sought to estimate the relationship of antenatal exposure with methadone or buprenorphine and infants' length of stay among hospitalized infants with NAS. STUDY DESIGN: This was a retrospective cohort study of hospitalized infants with NAS with either maternal exposure. Eligible infants were singleton infants born ⩾36 weeks' gestation and diagnosed with NAS<7 days of age between 2011 and 2014 in the Pediatrix Clinical Data Warehouse. Infant with congenital anomalies and those of multiple gestation were excluded. RESULTS: Of 3364 eligible infants, 2202 (65%) were exposed to methadone and 1162 (34%) to buprenorphine. Infants exposed to buprenorphine had a lower rate of pharmacologic treatment for NAS (88 vs 91%, P<0.001). Median length of hospital stay was shorter among infants exposed to buprenorphine (21 days (inter-quartile range; 13-31) vs methadone (24 days (15-38), P<0.0001)). On multivariable Cox proportional hazard analyses, buprenorphine was associated with a shorter length of stay (hazard ratio (HR)=1.47 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.32-1.62, P<0.001) after controlling for maternal age, parity, race or ethnicity, prenatal care, smoking status, use of antidepressants, use of benzodiazepines, and infant gestational age, small for gestational age status, cesarean delivery, sex, out born status, type of pharmacotherapy, breast milk use, year and center. We observed similar results in model using infants matched 1:1 with propensity scores for antenatal medication exposure (HR 1.39 for buprenorphine, CI 1.32-1.62, P<0.001). CONCLUSION: Among infants born ⩾36 weeks' gestation with NAS, antenatal buprenorphine exposure was associated with a decreased length of stay relative to antenatal methadone exposure.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tolia, VN; Murthy, K; Bennett, MM; Miller, ES; Benjamin, DK; Smith, PB; Clark, RH

Published Date

  • January 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 38 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 75 - 79

PubMed ID

  • 29048415

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1476-5543

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/jp.2017.157


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States