How is neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) treated?

Updated: Dec 20, 2017
  • Author: Ashraf H Hamdan, MD, MBBCh, MSc, MRCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Santina A Zanelli, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

The optimal treatment for NAS has not been established. Primary treatment of neonatal symptoms related to prenatal substance exposure should be supportive because pharmacologic therapy can prolong hospitalization and exposes the infant to additional agents that are often not necessary. However, pharmacotherapy for infants with more severe expression of NAS is necessary to allow them to feed, sleep, gain weight, and interact with caregivers. Opioids are currently considered the first-line therapy. Second-line therapy has been phenobarbital. Phenobarbital has been effective for the treatment of opioid withdrawal seizures and polydrug exposure.

See Treatment and Medication for more detail.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!