Treatments for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in Children

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Babies suffering from withdrawal are irritable and often have a difficult time being comforted.

  • Swaddling, or snugly wrapping your baby in a blanket, may help comfort your baby.
  • Babies also may need extra calories because of their increased activity and may need a higher calorie formula. Intravenous (IV) fluids are sometimes needed if your baby becomes dehydrated or has severe vomiting or diarrhea.

Some babies may need medications to treat severe withdrawal symptoms, especially for seizures. Specific drugs for treating withdrawal are:

  • methadone for heroin and other opiate withdrawal
  • benzodiazepines (for alcohol withdrawal)

Other drugs are also being used to help relieve the discomfort and problems of withdrawal. The treatment drug is usually in the same class as the substance your baby is withdrawing from. Once the signs of withdrawal are controlled, the dosage is gradually decreased to help wean your baby off the drug.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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