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Buprenorphine-Naloxone Appears Safe for Maternal Opioid Use Disorder

Maternal, neonatal outcomes similar to buprenorphine monotherapy

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 13, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Buprenorphine-naloxone seems to be as safe for pharmacotherapy for maternal opioid use disorder as buprenorphine monotherapy, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

Minna M. Kanervo, from the University of Helsinki in Finland, and colleagues followed 67 pregnant women on medical-assisted opioid maintenance treatment from conception to delivery to compare the outcomes of the pregnancies, deliveries, and newborns.

The researchers found that the buprenorphine-naloxone and buprenorphine groups showed similar outcomes and did not significantly differ from each other in terms of maternal health during pregnancies, deliveries, or newborns. Among all groups, illicit drug use during pregnancy was common, but in the methadone group it was most prevalent. The vast majority of neonates (96 percent) were born full-term with good Apgar scores. Newborns had relatively small birth size, with those in the methadone group tending to be the smallest. Nearly two-thirds of the neonates (63 percent) needed pharmacological treatment for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, with lower need seen in the buprenorphine-based groups versus the methadone group.

“Combination therapy of buprenorphine and naloxone could be a choice for oral opioid maintenance treatment during pregnancy, but larger studies are needed before changing the official recommendations,” Kanervo said in a statement.

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