European Journal of Pediatrics


Neonatology: Outcome Predictors in pregnant Opiate and Polydrug Users.


J.E. McCarthy (1), C. Siney (2), N.J.Shaw (2), S.M.Ruben (3).

Abstract volume 158, issue 9 (1999) pp748 – 749

(1): 36, Rodney Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 9AA, UK tel:+44-151-709 7010

(2): Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Crown Street, Liverpool, L8 7SS, UK

(3): 26, Rodney Street, Liverpool, L1 2TQ, UK.


Accepted: 30 December, 1998.


Abstract: a retrospective case note study of 93 women was performed in order to assess the effect of maternal factors on neonatal outcome in a group of women attending a specialist clinic for pregnant drug users.  There were no significant differences in outcome for chaotic drug users compared with non-chaotic drug users, or for cocaine users compared with non-non cocaine drug users.


Women who reduced their methadone dose during pregnancy delivered babies of significantly higher birth weight than those whose methadone dose remained the same or increased (median 3027g, range 1780 – 3629g vs  2645g range 580 – 3720g).


Women who abused benzodiazepines during pregnancy producecd babies significantly lower birth weight than those women who did not use benzodiazepines

(median 2100g, range 580 – 3520g vs 2767g range 1530 – 2730).


Conclusion:  The results of this study give healthcare staff evidence to use in encouraging drug-using women to avoid benzodiazepines during pregnancy and to reduce their methadone dosage.  The treatment received from a specialist clinic  may mitigate against some of the other recognized effects of drug use during pregnancy.