Incidence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Quadrupled Since Late 1990s — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
August 12, 2016

Incidence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Quadrupled Since Late 1990s

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

The incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome rose 300% between 1999 and 2013, according to a CDC analysis of nearly 30 million hospital births in 28 states. The findings, based on the State Inpatient Databases of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, appear in MMWR.

Overall, the incidence increased from 1.5 per 1000 hospital births in 1999 to 6.0 per 1000 in 2013. Significant increases were seen in 25 states. In 2013, the incidence ranged from 0.7 per 1000 in Hawaii to 33.4 per 1000 in West Virginia.

The authors write: “Prevention efforts, such as promotion of effective use of prescription drug monitoring programs, are needed to reduce inappropriate prescribing and dispensing of opioids. Clinicians should follow recommended guidelines on appropriate prescribing of opioid medications and provide screening and treatment for opioid use disorder among pregnant and nonpregnant women of reproductive age.”

Reader Comments (1)

Jay Davis MD PhD Physician, Emergency Medicine, Humboldt State University

"Neonatal Abstinence"? What an unfortunate choice of terminology. Working as I do at a university health service, where pregnancy prevention is a frequent issue, my first reaction was: "Duh! What other method could an infant use?"

Perhaps we should call it what it is, namely: "withdrawal", although I suppose somebody could misconstrue that term as well...

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