The opioid epidemic continues to rage on with no end in sight at all. People continue to use this insidious drug to the point that they're either close to, or are overdosing. If they're lucky, they survive their brush with death. If they're not, they end up dead from an opiod-related overdose. It's a tragic situation that affects so many men and women in multiple countries.
In the case of women, the opioid epidemic doesn't discriminate against those who are expecting. Pregnant women are as able to have an addiction as a woman who isn't pregnant. If a pregnant woman is trying to get help for an opioid addiction, there are some options to tackling the problem. Now it looks like methadone can be included as a treatment option due to its inability to hurting one's unborn baby.
This newfound discovery was published in the August issue of Pharmacology Research & Perspectives. The researchers behind this reviewed the medical data of 33 pregnant women in the Czech Republic. They compared opiod addicted mothers who used methadone as part of an opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) with more addicted mothers that didn't get that treatment. These researchers learned that the length of pregnancy for OMT-exposed women and the non-treated group were quite alike.
Meanwhile, over in Norway, the same researchers looked at data for 235 OMT-exposed newborns, and 294 newborns not exposed to this treatment. In this case, the average pregnancy was almost one week longer for women who received OMT in comparison to the latter group. It's also worth nothing that in both Norway and the Czech Republic, the birth weight, head size and length of the babies were practically identical between newborns exposed to OMT, and those who weren't exposed.
The ultimate conclusion of the study is that methadone used as part of an OMT isn't more harmful to an unborn baby then not being treated. This means that a baby can't become addicted to methadone if the mother uses it as a treatment for an opioid addiction. Having said that, it's likely to bring on withdrawal symptoms for the affected newborn. That's why it's best to have a doctor or medical professional monitor you closely if you find yourself in this situation.