Best Practices for Management of Infants with Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Neonatal drug withdrawal can occur when newborn infants are exposed to medications or addictive substances in utero or following prolonged postnatal exposure. This condition has traditionally been called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS) is a withdrawal syndrome specifically due to in utero opioid exposure (Patrick 2020). NAS and NOWS are withdrawal syndromes characterized by dysfunction in respiratory, gastrointestinal, and/or nervous system regulation. The diagnosis is dependent on symptoms of withdrawal and not necessarily the need for pharmacologic therapy (Devlin 2018).

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