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September 1963

Narcotic and Methamphetamine Use During Pregnancy: Effect on Newborn Infants

Author Affiliations

Sidney Sussman, MD, Department of Pediatrics, San Francisco General Hospital and The University of California Medical Center, San Francisco 22, Calif.; From the Department of Pediatrics, San Francisco General Hospital and the University of California Medical Center.

Am J Dis Child. 1963;106(3):325-330. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1963.02080050327013

From 1875 to 1963 a total of 286 cases of neonatal drug addiction have been reported,1 and, undoubtedly, others have been observed but never published. The addict mother is often first seen in active labor, and her addicted infant is frequently considered a diagnostic problem until a history of maternal addiction is elicited.2,3

In recent years there has been an increase in the use of methamphetamine hydrochloride (Methedrine) among addicts.5 Methamphetamine, a sympathomimetic drug, is a strong central nervous system stimulant, but, unlike other drugs in this group, it has little effect on the cardiovascular system. Methamphetamine rarely produces physiologic dependence, and classic withdrawal symptoms do not occur.6 Pharmacologically, methamphetamine is not addicting; whereas a narcotic produces tolerance, physiologic and psychologic dependence and is, therefore, addicting.

This report calls your attention to some important observations relating to the general problem of narcotic and methamphetamine use in