Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Infants Exposed Prenatally to Buprenorphine

Kahila, H.; Kivitie-Kallio, S.; Halmesmäki, E.; Valanne, L.; Autti, T.
February 2007
Acta Radiologica;Feb2007, Vol. 48 Issue 2, p228
Academic Journal
Purpose: To evaluate the brains of newborns exposed to buprenorphine prenatally. Material and Methods: Seven neonates followed up antenatally in connection with their mothers' buprenorphine replacement therapy underwent 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before the age of 2 months. The infants were born to heavy drug abusers. Four mothers were hepatitis C positive, and all were HIV negative. All mothers smoked tobacco and used benzodiazepines. All pregnancies were full term, and no perinatal asphyxia occurred. All but one neonate had abstinence syndrome and needed morphine replacement therapy. Results: Neither structural abnormalities nor abnormalities in signal intensity were recorded. Conclusion: Buprenorphine replacement therapy does not seem to cause any major structural abnormalities of the brain, and it may prevent known hypoxic-ischemic brain changes resulting from uncontrolled drug abuse. Longitudinal studies are needed to assess possible abnormalities in the brain maturation process.


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