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Adverse Infant Outcomes Associated With Maternal Opioid Treatment After Delivery

A population-based cohort study from Ontario suggests no adverse infant outcomes from maternal treatment with opioids within 30 days of hospital discharge. “Although we endorse caution in short term postpartum opioid use in selected mothers, clinicians and parents should be reassured that infants are at low risk of harm,” the group concludes.

The study population included 865,691 mother-infant pairs discharged from the hospital within 7 days of birth from Sept. 2012 through March 2020. Mothers who filled an opioid prescription within 7 days of hospital discharge were matched with mothers who did not. The primary outcome was hospital readmission of infants for any reason within 30 days of their mother filling an opioid prescription (index date).

The results showed the following: “85,675 mothers (99.8% of the 85,852 mothers prescribed an opioid) who filled an opioid prescription within seven days of discharge after delivery were propensity score matched to 85,675 mothers who did not. Of the infants admitted to hospital within 30 days, 2,962 (3.5%) were born to mothers who filled an opioid prescription compared with 3,038 (3.5%) born to mothers who did not. Infants of mothers who were prescribed an opioid were no more likely to be admitted to hospital for any reason than infants of mothers who were not prescribed an opioid (hazard ratio 0.98, 95% confidence interval 0.93 to 1.03) and marginally more likely to be taken to an emergency department in the subsequent 30 days (1.04, 1.01 to 1.08), but no differences were found for any other adverse infant outcomes and there were no infant deaths.”

Source: BMJ