Which medications in the drug class Opiates are used in the treatment of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome?

Updated: Dec 20, 2017
  • Author: Ashraf H Hamdan, MD, MBBCh, MSc, MRCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Santina A Zanelli, MD  more...
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These agents are the mainstay of treatment for opiate withdrawal, either alone or in combination with other medications. These agents are CNS depressants with advantages that include oral administration, mild sedation that improves the effectiveness of sucking, and effectiveness in treating seizures secondary to opiate withdrawal.

Morphine sulfate (Roxanol, Astramorph PF)

PO solutions are available in concentrations of 2 mg/mL, 4 mg/mL, and alcohol-free 20 mg/mL. Administered to neonates as diluted PO solution containing 0.4 mg/mL.

Bioavailability is 20-40% when administered orally. Elimination half-life is approximately 9 h. Recommended that Neonatal Abstinence Scoring System be used to guide treatment management of NAS.


Long-acting narcotic analgesic. PO bioavailability is 50%, with peak plasma levels obtained in 2-4 hours. Serum half-life ranges from 16-25 hours in neonates and is prolonged in patients with renal failure. Available as PO solutions in 1-mg/mL and 2-mg/mL concentrations containing 8% alcohol and 10-mg/mL alcohol-free solution.

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