Use of naltrexone in treating opioid use disorder in pregnancy

Craig Towers, Emily Katz, Beth Weitz, Kevin Visconti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The mainstay of the management of opioid use disorder in pregnancy is with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. Methadone and buprenorphine are opioid agonist drugs. Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, is also a medication-assisted treatment option; however, to date, only a few retrospective studies have reported its use in pregnancy. Objective: Our study objective was to evaluate prospectively obstetric and newborn outcomes and the maternal/fetal effects of the use of naltrexone as a medication-assisted treatment in pregnant patients with opioid use disorder. Study Design: We performed a prospective cohort study collecting data on all pregnant women who were treated with naltrexone medication-assisted treatment compared with pregnant women who were treated with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. Based on a sample size calculation, it was determined that for a power of 90, a minimum of 160 study participants (80 in each group) was needed with an alpha of .01 and an expected 60% rate of newborn infants who were treated for neonatal abstinence syndrome in the methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment group compared with a 30% rate in the naltrexone medication-assisted treatment group. In a random subset of 20 maternal/newborn dyads, blood levels for naltrexone and 6-beta-naltrexol (an active metabolite) were analyzed at delivery. Results: A total of 230 patients were studied: 121 patients with naltrexone medication-assisted treatment compared with 109 patients with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. No differences between groups were seen regarding demographics, the use of comedications/drugs, or obstetric outcomes. For newborn outcomes, the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome in neonates >34 weeks gestation was significantly lower in the naltrexone medication-assisted treatment group (10/119 [8.4%] vs 79/105 [75.2%]; P<.0001). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the only significant factor for the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome was the form of medication-assisted treatment. Of 87 patients who received naltrexone up to delivery, no neonates experienced symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome. No maternal relapses occurred in the 7-day no-treatment window before the initiation of naltrexone therapy. No cases of spontaneous abortion or stillbirth occurred in either group. In 64 patients who started naltrexone therapy at ≥24 weeks gestation, no changes were seen in the fetal heart monitor tracing with drug initiation. The incidence of birth anomalies was no different between the groups. Umbilical cord blood and maternal levels for naltrexone and 6-beta-naltrexol matched; no levels were elevated, and values were undetected if naltrexone was discontinued >60 hours before delivery. Conclusion: These study data demonstrate that, in pregnant women who choose to completely detoxify off opioid drugs during gestation, naltrexone, as a continued form of medication-assisted treatment, is a viable option for some pregnant patients who experience opioid use disorder. Naltrexone crosses the placenta, and maternal and fetal levels are concordant. Because naltrexone clears quickly from the maternal circulation, this rapid clearance needs to be addressed with patients. This is important because maternal relapse could occur in a short time-period if the oral drug is discontinued without the knowledge of their healthcare providers. Nonetheless, the drug is well-tolerated by both mother and fetus, and newborn infants do not experience symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome if naltrexone medication-assisted treatment is maintained to delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Buprenorphine
Naltrexone
Methadone
Opioid Analgesics
Pregnancy
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Mothers
Newborn Infant
Therapeutics
Pregnant Women
Obstetrics
Recurrence
Fetal Heart

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this

Use of naltrexone in treating opioid use disorder in pregnancy. / Towers, Craig; Katz, Emily; Weitz, Beth; Visconti, Kevin.

In: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Background: The mainstay of the management of opioid use disorder in pregnancy is with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. Methadone and buprenorphine are opioid agonist drugs. Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, is also a medication-assisted treatment option; however, to date, only a few retrospective studies have reported its use in pregnancy. Objective: Our study objective was to evaluate prospectively obstetric and newborn outcomes and the maternal/fetal effects of the use of naltrexone as a medication-assisted treatment in pregnant patients with opioid use disorder. Study Design: We performed a prospective cohort study collecting data on all pregnant women who were treated with naltrexone medication-assisted treatment compared with pregnant women who were treated with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. Based on a sample size calculation, it was determined that for a power of 90, a minimum of 160 study participants (80 in each group) was needed with an alpha of .01 and an expected 60{\%} rate of newborn infants who were treated for neonatal abstinence syndrome in the methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment group compared with a 30{\%} rate in the naltrexone medication-assisted treatment group. In a random subset of 20 maternal/newborn dyads, blood levels for naltrexone and 6-beta-naltrexol (an active metabolite) were analyzed at delivery. Results: A total of 230 patients were studied: 121 patients with naltrexone medication-assisted treatment compared with 109 patients with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. No differences between groups were seen regarding demographics, the use of comedications/drugs, or obstetric outcomes. For newborn outcomes, the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome in neonates >34 weeks gestation was significantly lower in the naltrexone medication-assisted treatment group (10/119 [8.4{\%}] vs 79/105 [75.2{\%}]; P<.0001). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the only significant factor for the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome was the form of medication-assisted treatment. Of 87 patients who received naltrexone up to delivery, no neonates experienced symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome. No maternal relapses occurred in the 7-day no-treatment window before the initiation of naltrexone therapy. No cases of spontaneous abortion or stillbirth occurred in either group. In 64 patients who started naltrexone therapy at ≥24 weeks gestation, no changes were seen in the fetal heart monitor tracing with drug initiation. The incidence of birth anomalies was no different between the groups. Umbilical cord blood and maternal levels for naltrexone and 6-beta-naltrexol matched; no levels were elevated, and values were undetected if naltrexone was discontinued >60 hours before delivery. Conclusion: These study data demonstrate that, in pregnant women who choose to completely detoxify off opioid drugs during gestation, naltrexone, as a continued form of medication-assisted treatment, is a viable option for some pregnant patients who experience opioid use disorder. Naltrexone crosses the placenta, and maternal and fetal levels are concordant. Because naltrexone clears quickly from the maternal circulation, this rapid clearance needs to be addressed with patients. This is important because maternal relapse could occur in a short time-period if the oral drug is discontinued without the knowledge of their healthcare providers. Nonetheless, the drug is well-tolerated by both mother and fetus, and newborn infants do not experience symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome if naltrexone medication-assisted treatment is maintained to delivery.",
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N2 - Background: The mainstay of the management of opioid use disorder in pregnancy is with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. Methadone and buprenorphine are opioid agonist drugs. Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, is also a medication-assisted treatment option; however, to date, only a few retrospective studies have reported its use in pregnancy. Objective: Our study objective was to evaluate prospectively obstetric and newborn outcomes and the maternal/fetal effects of the use of naltrexone as a medication-assisted treatment in pregnant patients with opioid use disorder. Study Design: We performed a prospective cohort study collecting data on all pregnant women who were treated with naltrexone medication-assisted treatment compared with pregnant women who were treated with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. Based on a sample size calculation, it was determined that for a power of 90, a minimum of 160 study participants (80 in each group) was needed with an alpha of .01 and an expected 60% rate of newborn infants who were treated for neonatal abstinence syndrome in the methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment group compared with a 30% rate in the naltrexone medication-assisted treatment group. In a random subset of 20 maternal/newborn dyads, blood levels for naltrexone and 6-beta-naltrexol (an active metabolite) were analyzed at delivery. Results: A total of 230 patients were studied: 121 patients with naltrexone medication-assisted treatment compared with 109 patients with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. No differences between groups were seen regarding demographics, the use of comedications/drugs, or obstetric outcomes. For newborn outcomes, the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome in neonates >34 weeks gestation was significantly lower in the naltrexone medication-assisted treatment group (10/119 [8.4%] vs 79/105 [75.2%]; P<.0001). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the only significant factor for the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome was the form of medication-assisted treatment. Of 87 patients who received naltrexone up to delivery, no neonates experienced symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome. No maternal relapses occurred in the 7-day no-treatment window before the initiation of naltrexone therapy. No cases of spontaneous abortion or stillbirth occurred in either group. In 64 patients who started naltrexone therapy at ≥24 weeks gestation, no changes were seen in the fetal heart monitor tracing with drug initiation. The incidence of birth anomalies was no different between the groups. Umbilical cord blood and maternal levels for naltrexone and 6-beta-naltrexol matched; no levels were elevated, and values were undetected if naltrexone was discontinued >60 hours before delivery. Conclusion: These study data demonstrate that, in pregnant women who choose to completely detoxify off opioid drugs during gestation, naltrexone, as a continued form of medication-assisted treatment, is a viable option for some pregnant patients who experience opioid use disorder. Naltrexone crosses the placenta, and maternal and fetal levels are concordant. Because naltrexone clears quickly from the maternal circulation, this rapid clearance needs to be addressed with patients. This is important because maternal relapse could occur in a short time-period if the oral drug is discontinued without the knowledge of their healthcare providers. Nonetheless, the drug is well-tolerated by both mother and fetus, and newborn infants do not experience symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome if naltrexone medication-assisted treatment is maintained to delivery.

AB - Background: The mainstay of the management of opioid use disorder in pregnancy is with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. Methadone and buprenorphine are opioid agonist drugs. Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, is also a medication-assisted treatment option; however, to date, only a few retrospective studies have reported its use in pregnancy. Objective: Our study objective was to evaluate prospectively obstetric and newborn outcomes and the maternal/fetal effects of the use of naltrexone as a medication-assisted treatment in pregnant patients with opioid use disorder. Study Design: We performed a prospective cohort study collecting data on all pregnant women who were treated with naltrexone medication-assisted treatment compared with pregnant women who were treated with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. Based on a sample size calculation, it was determined that for a power of 90, a minimum of 160 study participants (80 in each group) was needed with an alpha of .01 and an expected 60% rate of newborn infants who were treated for neonatal abstinence syndrome in the methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment group compared with a 30% rate in the naltrexone medication-assisted treatment group. In a random subset of 20 maternal/newborn dyads, blood levels for naltrexone and 6-beta-naltrexol (an active metabolite) were analyzed at delivery. Results: A total of 230 patients were studied: 121 patients with naltrexone medication-assisted treatment compared with 109 patients with methadone or buprenorphine medication-assisted treatment. No differences between groups were seen regarding demographics, the use of comedications/drugs, or obstetric outcomes. For newborn outcomes, the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome in neonates >34 weeks gestation was significantly lower in the naltrexone medication-assisted treatment group (10/119 [8.4%] vs 79/105 [75.2%]; P<.0001). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the only significant factor for the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome was the form of medication-assisted treatment. Of 87 patients who received naltrexone up to delivery, no neonates experienced symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome. No maternal relapses occurred in the 7-day no-treatment window before the initiation of naltrexone therapy. No cases of spontaneous abortion or stillbirth occurred in either group. In 64 patients who started naltrexone therapy at ≥24 weeks gestation, no changes were seen in the fetal heart monitor tracing with drug initiation. The incidence of birth anomalies was no different between the groups. Umbilical cord blood and maternal levels for naltrexone and 6-beta-naltrexol matched; no levels were elevated, and values were undetected if naltrexone was discontinued >60 hours before delivery. Conclusion: These study data demonstrate that, in pregnant women who choose to completely detoxify off opioid drugs during gestation, naltrexone, as a continued form of medication-assisted treatment, is a viable option for some pregnant patients who experience opioid use disorder. Naltrexone crosses the placenta, and maternal and fetal levels are concordant. Because naltrexone clears quickly from the maternal circulation, this rapid clearance needs to be addressed with patients. This is important because maternal relapse could occur in a short time-period if the oral drug is discontinued without the knowledge of their healthcare providers. Nonetheless, the drug is well-tolerated by both mother and fetus, and newborn infants do not experience symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome if naltrexone medication-assisted treatment is maintained to delivery.

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