Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The National Institutes of Health is planning a new study to analyze treatment options for newborns with opioid withdrawal syndrome.
Prescriptions for opioids has quadrupled since 1999 in the United States with more women of reproductive-age at risk for developing opioid use disorder.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome increased to 6 per 1,000 hospital births in 2013, up from 1.5 per 1,000 in 1999.
Healthcare providers in the United States currently lack standard, evidence-based treatments for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. NIH is funding the Advancing Clinical Trials in Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome, or ACT NOW, study to streamline care for infants born with opioid withdrawal syndrome.
"This project will allow researchers to evaluate the impact of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome across the country and to develop a multi-site clinical trial in areas hit hard by the opioid crisis," Dr. Matthew W. Gillman, Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes director, said in a press release.
The research is a collaboration between the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, or NICHD and the NIH ECHO.
"Public health and research communities cannot overlook the opioid epidemic's effects on pregnant women and their infants," NICHD Director Dr. Diana W. Bianchi, said. "ACT NOW will supplement research on opioids and pregnancy outcomes by addressing critical gaps on how best to treat and manage opioid withdrawal syndrome in newborns."