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Committee Opinion No. 711 Summary: Opioid Use and Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnancy

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002229
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ABSTRACT Opioid use in pregnancy has escalated dramatically in recent years, paralleling the epidemic observed in the general population. To combat the opioid epidemic, all health care providers need to take an active role. Pregnancy provides an important opportunity to identify and treat women with substance use disorders. Substance use disorders affect women across all racial and ethnic groups and all socioeconomic groups, and affect women in rural, urban, and suburban populations. Therefore, it is essential that screening be universal. Screening for substance use should be a part of comprehensive obstetric care and should be done at the first prenatal visit in partnership with the pregnant woman. Patients who use opioids during pregnancy represent a diverse group, and it is important to recognize and differentiate between opioid use in the context of medical care, opioid misuse, and untreated opioid use disorder. Multidisciplinary long-term follow-up should include medical, developmental, and social support. Infants born to women who used opioids during pregnancy should be monitored for neonatal abstinence syndrome by a pediatric care provider. Early universal screening, brief intervention (such as engaging a patient in a short conversation, providing feedback and advice), and referral for treatment of pregnant women with opioid use and opioid use disorder improve maternal and infant outcomes. In general, a coordinated multidisciplinary approach without criminal sanctions has the best chance of helping infants and families.

For a comprehensive overview of these recommendations, the full-text version of this Committee Opinion is available athttp://dx.doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000002235.

Committee on Obstetric Practice American Society of Addiction Medicine:The Society of Maternal–Fetal Medicine endorses this document. This Committee Opinion was developed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Obstetric Practice in collaboration with committee members Maria A. Mascola, MD, MPH; Ann E. Borders, MD, MSc, MPH; and the American Society of Addiction Medicine member Mishka Terplan, MD, MPH.

Copyright August 2017 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, posted on the Internet, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 409 12th Street, SW, PO Box 96920, Washington, DC 20090-6920

Official Citation: Opioid use and opioid use disorder in pregnancy. Committee Opinion No. 711. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2017;130:e81–94.

This information is designed as an educational resource to aid clinicians in providing obstetric and gynecologic care, and use of this information is voluntary. This information should not be considered as inclusive of all proper treatments or methods of care or as a statement of the standard of care. It is not intended to substitute for the independent professional judgment of the treating clinician. Variations in practice may be warranted when, in the reasonable judgment of the treating clinician, such course of action is indicated by the condition of the patient, limitations of available resources, or advances in knowledge or technology. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reviews its publications regularly; however, its publications may not reflect the most recent evidence. Any updates to this document can be found onwww.acog.orgor by calling the ACOG Resource Center.

While ACOG makes every effort to present accurate and reliable information, this publication is provided “as is” without any warranty of accuracy, reliability, or otherwise, either express or implied. ACOG does not guarantee, warrant, or endorse the products or services of any firm, organization, or person. Neither ACOG nor its officers, directors, members, employees, or agents will be liable for any loss, damage, or claim with respect to any liabilities, including direct, special, indirect, or consequential damages, incurred in connection with this publication or reliance on the information presented.

Received July 04, 2017

Accepted July 04, 2017

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Recommendations and Conclusions

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) makes the following recommendations and conclusions:

  • Early universal screening, brief intervention (such as engaging the patient in a short conversation, providing feedback and advice), and referral for treatment of pregnant women with opioid use and opioid use disorder improve maternal and infant outcomes.
  • Screening for substance use should be part of comprehensive obstetric care and should be done at the first prenatal visit in partnership with the pregnant woman. Screening based only on factors, such as poor adherence to prenatal care or prior adverse pregnancy outcome, can lead to missed cases, and may add to stereotyping and stigma. Therefore, it is essential that screening be universal.
  • Routine screening should rely on validated screening tools, such as questionnaires, including 4Ps, NIDA Quick Screen, and CRAFFT (for women 26 years or younger).
  • For chronic pain, practice goals include strategies to avoid or minimize the use of opioids for pain management, highlighting alternative pain therapies such as nonpharmacologic (eg, exercise, physical therapy, behavioral approaches), and nonopioid pharmacologic treatments.
  • For pregnant women with an opioid use disorder, opioid agonist pharmacotherapy is the recom-mended therapy and is preferable to medically supervised withdrawal because withdrawal is associated with high relapse rates, which lead to worse outcomes. More research is needed to assess the safety (particularly regarding maternal relapse), efficacy, and long-term outcomes of medically supervised withdrawal.
  • Infants born to women who used opioids during pregnancy should be monitored by a pediatric care provider for neonatal abstinence syndrome, a drug withdrawal syndrome that opioid-exposed neonates may experience shortly after birth.
  • Given the unique needs of pregnant women with an opioid use disorder, health care providers will need to consider modifying some elements of prenatal care (such as expanded sexually transmitted infection [STI] testing, additional ultrasound examinations to assess fetal weight if there is concern for fetal growth abnormalities, and consultations with various types of health care providers) in order to meet the clinical needs of the patient’s particular situation.
  • Before prescribing opioids for their patients, obstetrician–gynecologists and other health care providers should ensure that opioids are appropriately indicated; discuss the risks and benefits of opioid use and review treatment goals; and take a thorough history of substance use and review the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to determine whether patients have received prior opioid prescriptions.
  • Breastfeeding should be encouraged in women who are stable on their opioid agonists, who are not using illicit drugs, and who have no other contraindications, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Women should be counseled about the need to suspend breastfeeding in the event of a relapse.
  • Access to adequate postpartum psychosocial support services, including substance use disorder treatment and relapse prevention programs, should be made available.
  • Contraceptive counseling and access to contraceptive services should be a routine part of substance use disorder treatment among women of reproductive age to minimize the risk of unplanned pregnancy.
© 2017 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.