Question: Can buprenorphine be used as an effective modality for the treatment of neonatal abstinence syndrome?
Answer: A recently published article described a double blind, double dummy clinical trial of 63 infants who were exposed to opioids in utero. The authors of this study reported “The median duration of treatment was significantly shorter with buprenorphine than with morphine (15 days vs. 28 days), as was the median length of hospital stay (21 days vs. 33 days) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Adjunctive phenobarbital was administered in 5 of 33 infants (15%) in the buprenorphine group and in 7 of 30 infants (23%) in the morphine group (P=0.36). Rates of adverse events were similar in the two groups.” (Kraft WK et al. Buprenorphine for the treatment of the neonatal abstinence syndrome. 2017 NEJM 376(24):2341-2348)