Buprenorphine May Improve The Health Of Babies Born To Addicted Mothers

By Staff Writer

Several recent studies have shown that substance abuse treatment programs that include the use of buprenorphine rather than methadone may be more effective at reducing cravings in pregnant women who are addicted to opioids as well as in their newborn babies.

One study from Vanderbilt University researchers found that children born to addicted mothers who had been treated with buprenorphine during pregnancy needed far less morphine therapy after birth. This resulted in better outcomes and lower costs.

Researchers said that babies born addicted to opioids face many challenges in their lives. The most severe can occur immediately following birth. Newborns with this condition often face extreme discomfort. Later in life, they may be more likely to experience a range of learning disabilities and health problems.

The investigation was conducted as part of the Maternal Opioid Treatment: Human Experimental Trial (MOTHER) Project. Other studies conducted as part of the initiative showed that pregnant women who are treated with buprenorphine have fewer cravings and give birth to healthier babies.