Researchers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that doctors are prescribing opioid drug to pregnant women to get relief from pain, but this is ending their infants at a higher risk of developing NAS.
NAS was believed to affect infants whose mother binges on illegal drugs during pregnancy, but the recent study has linked opioid with NAS. Opioid is legal drug.
The researchers have studies 112,029 pregnant women and found that the there are grim symptoms in the children born to the mothers who have taken opioids. Nearly 28 percent women were taking opioid.
Stephen Patrick, assistant professor of pediatrics and health policy at Vanderbilt said, “We found that babies exposed to opioids pain relievers were more likely to be born premturely, have complicated births, low birth weight and have complications such as meconium aspiration syndrome (a sign of infant distress at birth) and respiratory distress.”
“Not all babies exposed to opioids have drug withdrawal after birth for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. Our study found that several things increased an infant’s risk, including the duration of opioid use, the type of prescription opioid, how many cigarettes a woman smoked and if they used a common antidepressant medicine called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.”
Opioids are similar to opiate drug and include codeine, morphine and methadone.
Patrick said that physicians should be careful in prescribing opioid drug to pregnant women as this may have an effect on her child.
Public health efforts should focus to avoid opioid and tobacco during pregnancy to avoid complication in pregnancy.
The study shows the opioid and other narcodic drug has serious impact on the infant, and hence state should regulate the drug usage for pregnant women.