Identification and management of neonatal abstinence syndrome

J Infus Nurs. May-Jun 2005;28(3):159-67. doi: 10.1097/00129804-200505000-00003.


The nursing care of infants experiencing withdrawal from drug abuse through passive exposure is often challenging. These infants are at higher risk for many medical complications in addition to withdrawal itself. Often, infusion nurses play an important role in caring for an infant with drug withdrawal by providing infusion therapy for the infant's compromised medical condition, poor oral intake, and withdrawal symptoms. This article focuses on drug abuse during pregnancy, the withdrawal symptoms it may cause in the infant, ways to recognize an infant experiencing neonatal abstinence syndrome, and available scoring tools and treatment options.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infusions, Intravenous / nursing*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / organization & administration
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / nursing
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / complications
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / therapy*
  • Neonatal Nursing / organization & administration
  • Neonatal Screening / nursing
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Prognosis
  • Specialties, Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Treatment Outcome