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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Author: Dana Bartlett, BSN, MSN, MA, CSPI
(Click author's name for bio)

CE: 2 hours Pharmacology: 0.5 hour
Rated 4.7 out of 5.0 based on 5519 reviews

Course Summary

Sudden discontinuation of drugs during pregnancy can result in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Both illicit and legal substances can lead to a substance use and addiction disorder and in-utero exposure to substances. The Finnegan scoring system is commonly used to assess the severity of NAS. Neurodevelopmental deficits, cognitive delays, and mood/behavioral disorders often occur in children with a history of NAS. Pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments for signs and symptoms of infant withdrawal are discussed. NAS is currently not well understood, and more research is required to guide clinicians in the assessment and the long-term effects of NAS on children with prenatal drug exposure.

Course Format


Course Syllabus

I.              Introduction

II.           Historical Overview Of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

1.   Basic Pharmacology of Opioids

III.         Pathophysiology Of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

1.   Changes in Intracellular Potassium

2.   Inhibition of cAMP Synthesis

IV.          Clinical Presentation And Assessment Of NAS

1.   Signs and Symptoms

2.   Assessment of NAS

3.   Confirming In-utero Exposure to Opioids

V.            Treatment Of Infants With NAS

1.   Non-pharmacologic Therapy

2.   Pharmacologic Therapy

3.   Breastfeeding

VI.          Long-term Effects Of In-utero Opioid Exposure

1.   Organ System Damage

2.   Cognitive and Behavioral Effects

VII.       Treatment Of Pregnant Women With Opioid Use Disorder

1.   Supervised Opioid Withdrawal

2.   Supervised Opioid Maintenance

VIII.     Summary


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