Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a result of the sudden discontinuation of fetal exposure to substances that were used or abused by the mother during pregnancy. Withdrawal from licit or illicit substances is becoming more common among neonates in both developed and developing countries. NAS continues to be an important clinical entity throughout much of the world. NAS leads to a constellation of signs and symptoms involving multiple systems. The pathophysiology of NAS is not completely understood. Urine or meconium confirmation may assist the diagnosis and management of NAS. The Finnegan scoring system is commonly used to assess the severity of NAS; scoring can be helpful for initiating, monitoring, and terminating treatment in neonates. Nonpharmacological care is the initial treatment option, and pharmacological treatment is required if an improvement is not observed after nonpharmacological measures or if the infant develops severe withdrawal. Morphine is the most commonly used drug in the treatment of NAS secondary to opioids. An algorithmic approach to the management of infants with NAS is suggested. Breastfeeding is not contraindicated in NAS, unless the mother is taking street drugs, is involved in polydrug abuse, or is infected with HIV. Future studies are required to assess the long-term effects of NAS on children after prenatal exposure.
Keywords: Finnegan scores; benzodiazepines; breastfeeding; buprenorphine; inhalants; methadone; methamphetamine; morphine; neonatal abstinence syndrome; opioid abuse; opioid receptors; prescription opioids; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor; withdrawal.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.