To survey current practices for the treatment of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) among institutions in the United States to identify changes in national practice over time.
Previous NAS management reports were referenced in the development of our 26-question electronic survey, which was distributed in the fall of 2019 to pediatric practitioners of 2 national clinical pharmacy organizations via email list servers. Not all questions required a response and responses from incomplete surveys were included. Institution demographics and NAS management strategies, including location of care, observation period, and inpatient and outpatient pharmacotherapy, were queried.
Seventy respondents representing institutions from all US geographic regions participated in the survey The most commonly reported inpatient observation durations were 3 (18 of 61, 29%) and 5 (22 of 61, 36%) days. Respondents indicated that neonates were typically transferred to the NICU if pharmacologic management was required (38 of 56, 68%). According to participants, first-line agents used for NAS management were morphine (45 of 56, 80%), methadone (5 of 56, 9%), clonidine (2 of 56, 4%), and buprenorphine (2 of 56, 4%). Among respondents, only 20% (11 of 56) reported that infants may be discharged home on pharmacotherapy, including morphine (n = 6), phenobarbital (n = 3), clonidine (n = 1), and methadone (n = 1).
Opioids are the most commonly used first-line agents for NAS management in the United States. The primary site of NAS management is the inpatient setting, as only 20% of institutions report discharging patients on pharmacotherapy.