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Severe Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Requiring Pharmacotherapy: Impact of Region of Residence



 Our objective was to evaluate the trend and to assess the impact of maternal region of residence in Western New York (WNY), on severe neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS).

Study design

 Term infants' born at gestational age greater than or equal to 37 weeks with severe NOWS, defined as withdrawal resulting in the receipt of pharmacologic therapy from WNY admitted to our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2016, were included. Severe NOWS admissions to our NICU from the following five regions were controlled with birth and insurance data: (1) Urban North, (2) Erie Coastal, (3) Niagara Frontier, (4) Southern Tier, and (5) Urban South.


 "Urban South" residence was associated with an increased risk of severe NOWS (adjusted odds ratio = 1.8, 97.5% confidence interval: 1.1-2.9). The trend in admission for severe NOWS doubled between 2008 to 2010 and 2014 to 2016 (p = 0.01). More infants born to maternal nonprescribed opioid users were placed in foster care at discharge (36.5 vs. 1.9%, p < 0.001).


 In WNY, neonates born to mothers from the "Urban South" were twice at risk of being admitted for severe NOWS. One-third of infants with severe NOWS after nonprescribed opioid use were placed in foster care. Implementing targeted strategies at the community level may help improve outcomes in NOWS.

Key points

· Maternal region of residence is a risk factor for severe neonatal opioid withdrawal.. · Admissions for severe neonatal opioid withdrawal trended up from 2008 to 2010 to 2014 to 2016.. · One-third of the infants born to mothers on nonprescribed opioids were discharged to foster care..

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