Prescription opioid dependence and treatment with methadone in pregnancy


  • Stephanie C. Eken Sander, MD
  • Lon R. Hays, MD, MBA



opioids, oxycodone, methadone maintenance therapy, addiction, pregnancy


Prescription opioids are used medically to treat pain, but their diversion and abuse continues to escalate in the United States.1 Abuse of OxyContin (Purdue Pharma LP, Stamford, CT), a timed-release form of oxycodone, is a major focus of public health and law enforcement agencies. 2 The rise in opioid abuse may lead to an increase in opioid dependence in pregnancy, which was a focus of this study. Our retrospective chart review examined the demographics and patterns of opioid addiction of pregnant women admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit in an academic medical center in central Kentucky. Charts of 94 women admitted from January 2001 to May 2004 were reviewed. Information obtained included demographics and details of their opioid use, including the specific opioid( s) used, route of administration, and duration of use. Treatment information included length of hospital stay, stabilizing dose of methadone, comorbid drug use, and concomitant Axis I diagnoses. Most women were in their mid-twenties and in the second trimester of pregnancy when they sought treatment. Benzodiazepines were the most common comorbid drugs of abuse and the most frequent medical complication of their drug use was hepatitis C, newly diagnosed in 11 patients. This study demonstrates the need for further research in prescription opioid dependency in pregnancy, methadone maintenance therapy, the safety of detoxification, and neonatal outcomes.

Author Biographies

Stephanie C. Eken Sander, MD

Department of Psychiatry, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky.

Lon R. Hays, MD, MBA

Department of Psychiatry, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky.


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How to Cite

Eken Sander, MD, S. C., and L. R. Hays, MD, MBA. “Prescription Opioid Dependence and Treatment With Methadone in Pregnancy”. Journal of Opioid Management, vol. 1, no. 2, May 2005, pp. 91-97, doi:10.5055/jom.2005.0022.