Addiction treatment medication may help children born with chemical dependency

By Staff Writer

Children who are born to parents who use drugs risk many problems. They often go through severe withdrawal symptoms immediately following birth and are more likely develop addictions later in life that require substance abuse treatment.

However, researchers from Thomas Jefferson University recently found that a drug commonly used to treat addiction may lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms in newborns and shorten the amount of time they need to spend on drug replacement therapy.

After testing buprenorphine on 12 addicted newborns, researchers found that the medication shortened the length of hospital stays by 40 percent compared to 12 other infants who were treated with other therapies. Additionally, the medicine is up to 20 percent less expensive than more commonly used alternatives.

Researchers said that they hope their findings will result in a new standard of care for infants who are born with drug addictions, as they believe there are strong benefits to this treatment strategy. They are currently planning further investigations in an effort to confirm their findings.

If validated, the treatment could improve the success rate of newborn addiction treatment.