Pregnant women taking methadone should be warned about withdrawal symptoms in babies

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6977.464 (Published 18 February 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:464
  1. Steve Kempley
  1. Consultant neonatologist Royal London Hospital, London E1 1BB

    EDITOR,—Methadone maintenance programmes are established in Britain, and Michael Farrell and colleagues' review provides a reminder of the many benefits to opiate users.1 It does not, however, mention the potentially serious neonatal withdrawal syndrome, which occurs in many babies born to mothers using methadone. The likelihood of withdrawal effects is only weakly related to the maternal methadone dose but is probably related to the speed with which concentrations decrease in the baby.2 3

    My district does not have an excessive problem with drug misuse, but …

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