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In order to investigate the effects of exposure to buprenorphine compared with methadone during pregnancy, a prospective multicenter study was conducted in collaboration with maternity hospitals, maintenance therapy centers, and general practitioners involved in addiction care. Ninety pregnant women exposed to buprenorphine and 45 to metadone were selected for the study.
During pregnancy, some women were exposed to illicit agents: cannabis (42% in the buprenorphine group vs. 58% in the methadone-treated group), heroin (17% vs. 44%), or cocaine (3% vs. 11%). Pregnancies ended in 85 vs. 40 live births, one vs. two stillbirths, two vs. one spontaneous abortion, two vs. one voluntary termination, and one vs. one medical termination in the buprenorphine and the methadone groups, respectively. Newborns had a birth weight of 2,892 ± 506 g (buprenorphine) vs. 2,731 ± 634 g (methadone) and a body length of 47.6 ± 2.5 cm vs. 47.1 ± 3 cm. 18.8% vs. 10% of newborns were delivered before 37 weeks of amenorrhea. Neonatal withdrawal syndrome occurred more frequently in the methadone group (62.5% vs. 41.2, p = 0.03). After adjustment for heroin exposure in late pregnancy, rates of neonatal withdrawal were no longer different between the methadone and buprenorphine groups. Twenty-one babies (84%) in the methadone group and 20 (57%) in the buprenorphine group (p = 0.03) required opiate treatment.
We did not observe more frequent malformations or cases of withdrawal syndrome in the buprenorphine group than in the methadone-treated group. Buprenorphine appears to be as safe as the currently approved substitute methadone considered to date as the reference treatment for pregnant opioid-dependent women.
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, Laboratoire de Pharmacologie Médicale et Clinique, Centre d'Evaluation et d'Information sur la Pharmacodépendance et d'Addictovigilance, INSERM U1027, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France, lacroix@cict.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: European journal of clinical pharmacology
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A synthetic opioid that is used as the hydrochloride. It is an opioid analgesic that is primarily a mu-opioid agonist. It has actions and uses similar to those of MORPHINE. It also has a depressant action on the cough center and may be given to control intractable cough associated with terminal lung cancer. Methadone is also used as part of the treatment of dependence on opioid drugs, although prolonged use of methadone itself may result in dependence. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p1082-3)
Medical treatment for opioid dependence using a substitute opiate such as METHADONE or BUPRENORPHINE.
A derivative of the opioid alkaloid THEBAINE that is a more potent and longer lasting analgesic than MORPHINE. It appears to act as a partial agonist at mu and kappa opioid receptors and as an antagonist at delta receptors. The lack of delta-agonist activity has been suggested to account for the observation that buprenorphine tolerance may not develop with chronic use.
Human females who are pregnant, as cultural, psychological, or sociological entities.
An opioid analgesic structurally related to METHADONE and used in the treatment of severe pain. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p1070)
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