What is neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)?

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

Neonatal withdrawal syndrome, generically termed neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), is a complex disorder. It is defined as a constellation of behavioral and physiological signs and symptoms in newborns that are remarkably similar despite marked differences in the properties of the causative agent. [1] Two major types of NAS are recognized: NAS due to prenatal or maternal use of substances that result in withdrawal symptoms in the newborn and postnatal NAS secondary to discontinuation of medications such as fentanyl or morphine used for pain therapy in newborns admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). [2]  Chronic opioid exposure in the most common source of NAS. [1]


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