Neonates whose mothers were treated during pregnancy for opioid addiction recover more quickly and also require less medication if their mother was treated with buprenorphine rather than with methadone, according to a randomized controlled trial funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Jones HE et al. N Engl J Med. 2010;363:2320-2331).
Although methadone treatment is the current standard of care for pregnant women with opioid addiction, some studies have suggested buprenorphine might offer additional benefits to the infants of treated mothers. In the current study, 175 women at 8 sites were randomly assigned to receive either buprenorphine or methadone for opioid addiction. Infants in the buprenorphine group required less morphine to treat neonatal abstinence syndrome than those in the methadone group (mean dose: 1.1 mg vs 10.4 mg), required fewer days of treatment (4.1 days vs 9.9 days), and had shorter hospital stays (10.0 vs 17.5 days).
Kuehn BM. Buprenorphine During Pregnancy. JAMA. 2011;305(4):348. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1965