Newborns with NAS require hospitalization and treatment that includes medication to relieve the symptoms. The medication, usually morphine, is tapered off until the baby becomes opioid free.
According to the National Institute on Drub Abuse, some of the symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome in newborns include:
- Excessive crying
- Slow weight gain
- Possible death
Some recent NIDA research suggests that buprenorphine treatment for heroin use of the mother during the pregnancy, however, is safe for both mother and the unborn child. These children require shorter hospital stays and less treatment with morphine, compared with newborns born to mothers on methadone treatment.
Other NIDA research has shown that treating NAS babies with buprenorphine combined with naloxone, instead of morphine, reduces side effects and is equally safe for infants born to opioid addicted mothers.
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National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Heroin." Research Report Series Updated January 2014
The Partnership at DrugFree.org. "Heroin." Drug Guide. Accessed March 2014.