For babies born with opioid withdrawals, methadone proves more effective than morphine

Methadone could be a more effective treatment than morphine for babies introduced to opioids in utero and born with withdrawal symptoms, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Every twenty minutes, a baby is born to a mother addicted to opioids, according to TIME. About 80 percent of NAS cases in the U.S. are treated with morphine, and 20 percent are treated with methadone, which is less addictive than morphine and oxycodone.

Jonathan Davis, MD, vice chair of pediatrics at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, conducted a study comparing the use of methadone and morphine to treat babies born with NAS.

Among 116 babes born with NAS, those randomly assigned methadone for treatment left the hospital about three days earlier than babies treated with morphine, Dr. Davis found. Babies treated with methadone also stopped their medication routine roughly two days earlier.

“We hope people will look at these results and see the success and think, 'that's something we can also adopt' so we don't have hundreds of different approaches throughout the U.S. for treating these babies,” Dr. David told TIME.

More articles on opioids: 

These 4 states saw the biggest drop in opioid prescriptions
Viewpoint: Physicians should no longer use opioids as 'simple solution' to pain
Cryptomarket opioid sales increased after DEA tightened prescribing regulations

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