At ACOG 2016

Methadone users under professional programs have similar pregnancy outcomes as nonmethadone users, according to a study of more than 34,000 deliveries.

Dr. Conisha Holloman of Winnie Palmer Hospital Orlando, Fla., analyzed 34,482 deliveries from 2010 to 2013, comparing women enrolled in methadone programs, those with cocaine or heroine use but no treatment or self medication with methadone, and a large group of controls.

“What we found was a significant difference between preterm births in the groups,” Dr. Holloman said at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The preterm birth rate was 15% among the 55 patients enrolled in methadone programs. The preterm birth rate rose to 36% among the 34,408 patients in the control group, who had no addiction issues. Comparatively, the preterm birth rate was 53% among the 19 patients who tested positive for cocaine, heroine, or methadone use and were either self treating or not enrolled in a treatment program.

The study also noted neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission rates were higher for infants of drug-using patients who were self treating or who were not enrolled in methadone programs. The NICU admission rate for infants of those patients was 26%, compared with 16% for the women in the methadone program and 7% for the control group.

The demographics in the groups were comparable, with no significant difference between age, primigravida, and class III obesity status.

“We encourage women to get into a methadone assisted program, because a lot of these women end up getting earlier prenatal care and better social situations as far as high-risk behavior and improved nutrition for maternal health,” said Dr. Holloman.

Dr. Holloman reported having no relevant financial disclosures.