Predicting length of treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome in methadone-exposed neonates

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Oct;199(4):396.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2008.06.088.


Objective: The objective of the study was to identify maternal variables predicting length of treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Study design: This was a retrospective cohort study of infants treated for NAS during 2000-2006 whose mothers were on methadone maintenance at delivery. Mixed-effects linear regression was used to examine the interaction of maternal and neonatal variables with length of treatment.

Results: Of 204 neonates born to methadone exposed mothers, the average dose at delivery was 127 mg daily (25-340 mg) with median length of treatment 32 days (1-122 days). Trimester of initial exposure (P = .33), methadone dose at delivery (P = .198), body mass index (P = .31), antidepressant use (P = .40), cigarette use (P = .76), race (P = .78), and maternal age (P = .84) did not predict length of treatment. In the multivariate analysis, gestational age at delivery and benzodiazepine use were significant predictors of length of treatment.

Conclusion: Later gestational age and concomitant benzodiazepine use were associated with longer treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage*
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Methadone / administration & dosage*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / therapy*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Time Factors


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Methadone