Presently, methadone is the recommended treatment for opioid-dependent pregnant women, but is associated with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS is characterized by opioid withdrawal symptoms in the newborn, which often requires longer hospitalization and treatment. Buprenorphine, FDA-approved in 2002 for the treatment of opioid dependence in non-pregnant individuals, hasn't been extensively studied during pregnancy. Yet, a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found that buprenorphine offers an alternative to methadone in the treatment of opioid-dependent pregnant women. The study compared buprenorphine to methadone in 131 mothers and their newborns at eight international sites.
New England Journal of Medicine