Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

iStock_000021763916_LargeInappropriate use of prescription opioid medications is permeating all segments of society, and now, sadly, is impacting newborns, as Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week.  'Neonatal abstinence syndrome,' where neonates may manifest a host of symptoms such as irritability, rigid muscles, instability in blood pressure, and even seizures, secondary to mom's opioid use, has increased markedly over the last 15 years, with this analysis of neonatal ICU admissions from 2004 to 2013 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine painting an even more dismal picture.

While previous reports had cited a three-fold increase in the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome from 2000 to 2009, this analysis finds an almost four-fold increase, with almost 20% of all NICU days nationally devoted to caring for these infants in 2013. Clearly, greater education of clinicians as well as pregnant women and those contemplating pregnancy is indicated, as well as research in how best to manage the condition, especially with regard to medications used in this population.

Other topics this week include a new vaccine for herpes zoster, also in NEJM, benefits of early and complete HPV vaccination in Pediatrics, and a lack of benefit seen with inferior vena cava filters in JAMA.  Until next week, y'all live well.

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