What are the complications of 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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Prenatal opioid exposures may cause birth defects, altered brain development and neonatal abstinence syndrome. [2, 22]


Narcotics may have a direct effect on the development of the respiratory center in the brain stem, but an adverse effect of opiates on long-term postnatal growth is not evident. In longitudinal studies, developmental sequelae have not been proven. Problems with habituation, visual and auditory responsiveness, and interactive patterns have been observed in the first months of life.

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