Opioid addiction is a major health concern in the United States. It is not sparing any gender or age-group, be it men, women, youngsters or senior citizens. The number in cases of opioid overdose in America has seen a tremendous rise over the last few years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 165,000 Americans died due to opioid overdose during 1999-2014.
Even though pregnancy is considered the most joyous period in a woman’s life, it becomes a period of stress for those addicted to opioids. With the birth of an opioid-addicted baby every 19 minutes in the U.S., eradicating the epidemic of drug overdose becomes the top priority of the authorities. Addiction to opioids during pregnancy can lead to severe health risks in the newborn, such as low birth weight, behavioral problems, mental and physical dependency and learning disabilities.
To avoid any such health issue in the newborn, it is better to opt for opioid detox during pregnancy. However, this process also takes a lot of effort and demands precautionary measures. Withdrawal from opiates can lead to health issues like vomiting, diarrhea and nausea, which can impact the health of the baby. There are also higher chances of miscarriage, premature labor or fetal pain. Therefore, it is advisable to go for opiate withdrawal between the 14th and 32nd week of pregnancy under strict medical supervision.
Methadone most common medication for pregnant women
Methadone is the safest and highly recommended opioid detoxification medication for a pregnant woman. Its dosage depends on the prescription of a methadone maintenance treatment program expert. An opioid with long-lasting effects, methadone keeps the level of blood serum constant and helps in protecting the fetus from the withdrawal symptoms.
Methadone removes the chances of experiencing any withdrawal symptoms like drug cravings, abdominal cramps, nausea and anxiety. Another advantage of opting for a methadone maintenance treatment is the appropriate prenatal care and a healthy lifestyle.
Methadone dosage is adjusted throughout the pregnancy to avoid any of the aforementioned symptoms. But, it is not mandatory that every pregnant woman would require a dosage adjustment. A woman who was already under a stable methadone dosage before pregnancy might require dosage adjustments and this situation arises mostly in the third trimester.
For a woman who began her treatment during pregnancy, the adjustment should be done in accordance with the safe induction protocols. Generally, the medication dosage for a pregnant woman varies between 10-30 mg/d. However, for those with an excellent metabolism, a single dosage of methadone may not be sufficient. In such cases, split dosages are planned to control any withdrawal symptoms.
Another commonly prescribed medication for opiate detox during pregnancy is buprenorphine. Buprenorphine acts on the same receptors in the human body as heroin and morphine and it has numerous advantages over methadone like lower risk of overdose, reduced drug interactions and possibility of administering it on an outpatient basis.
However, buprenorphine has certain disadvantages, like hepatic dysfunction, unavailability of long-term data on effects on child and higher chances of patient diversion. The medication can only be prescribed by trained and approved physicians.
Call for detox
Early diagnosis of an opioid addiction can ensure healthy mother and baby. The best option for a woman to ensure a healthy baby is to conceive after she has undergone opioid detox. This will prevent the opiate withdrawal symptoms from occurring during pregnancy and help sail through the pregnancy smoothly, making it a joyful journey.
If you know someone who is an opioid addict and needs treatment, the Florida Detox Helpline can assist him/her with the required information. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-920-9869 or chat online with one of our experts to know about the best detox center in Florida.