Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome [NOWS]

Newborns who have been exposed to opioid drugs in utero reportedly show signs of neonatal opioid withdrawl syndrome (NOWS) which leads to them being irritable and may cause them to have issues feeding, sleeping, and being difficult to soothe.

Opioid use in pregnancy can lead to a withdrawal syndrome in the newborn shortly after birth. The syndrome has been traditionally called neonatal abstinence syndrome but more recently has been called neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) by federal agencies, including the US Food and Drug Administration. Although neonatal abstinence syndrome is a more general term for neonatal withdrawal that, in the literature, may include nonopioid exposures (eg, benzodiazepines), evidence suggests that the recent growth of neonatal drug withdrawal has been primarily from in utero opioid exposure either in isolation or in combination with other substances.


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