Use of buprenorphine in pregnancy: Patient management and effects on the neonate

Rolley E. Johnson, Hendrée E. Jones, Gabriele Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


It is estimated that 55-94% of infants born to opioid-dependent mothers in US will show signs of opioid withdrawal. Buprenorphine has been reported to produce little or no autonomic signs or symptoms of opioid withdrawal following abrupt termination in adults. To date, there have been 21 published reports representing approximately 15 evaluable cohorts of infants exposed to buprenorphine in utero. Of approximately 309 infants exposed, a neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has been reported in 62% infants with 48% requiring treatment; apparently greater than 40% of these cases are confounded by illicit drug use. The NAS associated with buprenorphine generally appears within 12-48 h, peaks at approximately 72-96 h, and lasts for 120-168 h. These results appear similar to or less than that observed following in utero exposure to methadone. From a review of the literature, buprenorphine appears to be safe and effective in both mother and infant with an NAS that may differ from methadone both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S87-S101
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number2 SUPPL.
StatePublished - May 21 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Buprenorphine
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome
  • Opioid dependence
  • Perinatal addiction
  • Pregnancy
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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