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Identifying Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and Treatment Guidelines

University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital -11/2014

What is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome?
• Neonatal withdrawal after intrauterine exposure to certain drugs (illicit or prescription)
• Occurs with the abrupt cessation of the drug exposure at birth
• Most commonly seen with opioid exposure, but also seen after exposure to sedatives, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), polysubstance abuse, and occasionally barbiturates and alcohol • Develops in 55-94% of opioid drug-exposed infants and 28-30% of SSRI-exposed infants 


  • Maternal history

  • Meconium drug testing

  • Urine drug screen 

  • Umbilical cord testing