Background and Aims Conventional management of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) often requires prolonged hospital admission, proving costly in both financial and social terms. However, safety issues often preclude the option of community-based withdrawal programs. We report the experience of our IHBW program.
Methods A retrospective audit was undertaken of infants older than 34 weeks gestation admitted to the Royal Women’s Hospital Neonatal Unit for treatment of NAS between 2001–2010. Selected infants were offered the IHBW program from 2004.
Results 163 infants were admitted for treatment of NAS; 38 were managed on the IHBW program. 97% were exposed to opioids in utero. Morphine was used to treat 145 (89%) infants with 18 (11%) receiving either phenobarbitone or a combination of both.
Conclusion In selected families, IHBW reduces hospital stay in managing NAS, without increasing morphine dose. Concerns regarding infant welfare limit the number of infants suitable for this management pathway.