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Prescription drug abuse rates are rapidly increasing in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the U.S. makes up only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet it is responsible for the consumption of 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs. Abuse of prescription drugs occurs who the drug is taken in a manner other than its intended purpose such as to get high.

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01-30 Children born during withdrawal suffer physical abnormalities, says study

Posted in addiction by CPAH Team - 0 Comments
Children born during withdrawal suffer physical abnormalities, says study

Pregnancy is  that crucial stage, during which the to-be-mother has to take very good care of not just herself, but of her unborn child as well. As such, expectant mothers are advised to be extra careful and cautious about  their food intake, physical fitness, and the environment they live in. All these factors play an important role and contribute significantly towards the growth and development of the unborn child. In this regard, findings of a new study reveals that infants born during withdrawal after opioid exposure in utero have a high chance of developing several kinds of abnormalities after their birth.

According to the study published by physicians at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, children born during a withdrawal, after an exposure to opioid in utero, have shown a marked increase in cases of torticollis, which is characterized by an abnormal twisting of the neck. Additionally, a large number of the infants are born with a condition known as plagiocephaly also known as the flat head syndrome, which is distinguished by the flattening of one side of the skull and is often seen in conjunction with torticollis due to the exposure.

Highlighting the importance of the findings, the researchers have stressed on the importance of the awareness of these conditions,  especially because torticollis may not develop for several months after the infant has been discharged from the hospital. Hence, it is advisable to take preventive measures, such as occupational and physical therapy, so that the probable condition could be avoided. This would go a long way in preventing any developmental delays in the infant.

Insight of the study

The opioid crisis is a growing epidemic in the United States and it was the growing number of pregnant women falling prey to opioid abuse, prompted this study to be conducted. As per the National Institute of Drug Abuse, there has been a substantial increase in the cases of newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in last decade. “From 2012 to 2016, 29.4 per 1,000 live births had in utero opioid exposure in Cincinnati. Of these 35.1 percent, or 10.3 per 1,000 live births, were diagnosed with NAS,” mentioned the study.

In the course of this study, around 783 infants were observed over a course of five years. Out of the these, the ones with a history of NAS, 87 were diagnosed with torticollis, an incidence rate of 11.1 percent. Further, of the infants diagnosed with the condition, 23 percent were exposed to only one long-acting opioid75.9 percent to short-acting opioids, and 72.4 percent to multiple opioids. Infants in withdrawal were treated, in most cases, with methadone, but 18.4 percent were treated with buprenorphine and 5.7 percent with morphine.,” the study mentioned.

Silent epidemic of NAS

Medically, NAS is a condition which the newborn experiences, resulting from a withdrawal from the drug or opioid that he/she was exposed to while in the womb. This withdrawal could also lead to a series of health problems.

The symptoms of NAS can be noticed within 24 to 48 hours after birth, but in many cases, it could take as many as 14 days from birth, for symptoms to appear. The common NAS symptoms include diarrhea, excessive high-pitched crying, high fever, sweating, irritability, vomiting, hyperactive reflexes, abnormal sucking reflex, and increase in heart rate. These could lead to long-term complications such as intrauterine growth, premature birth, seizures and birth defects.

Road to recovery

NAS is certainly a preventable condition. A large percentage of the risk can be reduced by educating the women about the repercussion of addiction on their baby. Secondly, any woman who is planning to conceive should undergo a medical diagnosis especially if abusing any substance. Women with addictions should plan their pregnancy only after having undergone complete rehabilitation. Women using prescription drugs should consult their doctor about continuation of the drug during pregnancy.

NAS can be treated with medical intervention, however, prevention is always better than cure.  Therefore, if you or your loved one is pregnant and suffering from prescription drug abuse, you can seek help from Colorado Prescription Abuse Helpline. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 922-5915 or chat online with our experts to know about the prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Colorado.

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