Objective: To detect the spectrum of gestational exposure to illicit drugs and other xenobiotic agents in neonates by meconium analysis.
Method: Meconium was collected from 98 neonates and analyzed for illicit drugs and other xenobiotic agents by high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.
Results: Eighty-one (82.7%) infants tested positive for xenobiotic agents, and each infant had from 1 to 9 drugs present. These included local anesthetics (30%) such as lidocaine and mepivacaine; food additives (25%) such as ionol (butylated hydroxytoluene); illicit drugs (11%), especially cocaine and morphine; analgesics (10%) such as meperidine; and fewer (< 10%) other drugs such as antihistamines, antidepressants, adrenergics, anticonvulsants, cough medications, analeptics, hypnosedatives, and cardiotonics.
Conclusion: We demonstrated substantial exposure of neonates to xenobiotic agents, ranging from exposure to food additives, prescribed or over-the-counter medications, and drugs of abuse.