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Neonatal outcomes associated with in utero exposure to oxycodone, overall and by trimester of exposure: A retrospective cohort study

Running heading: Oxycodone in pregnancy
Published:November 21, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2022.11.007

      Highlights

      • Prenatal oxycodone exposure was not associated with an increased risk of congenital anomalies.
      • Prenatal oxycodone exposure was associated with an increased risk of pre-term birth.
      • Prenatal oxycodone exposure was associated with an increased risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome.

      Abstract

      Oxycodone is commonly used by pregnant women for the treatment of pain. However, the potential risk associated with its use in pregnancy have not been robustly evaluated. The objective of this study was to examine neonatal outcomes associated with prenatal oxycodone exposure. State dispensing records were matched with midwives records to identify women who had been dispensed oxycodone during pregnancy (n=302). A matched comparison group of women who had been prescribed oxycodone prior to pregnancy was also identified (n=604). Hospital, mortality and congenital abnormality data were obtained for each mother-child dyad. Neonatal outcomes were examined for association with any exposure during pregnancy and trimester specific exposure, using generalized linear models. First trimester exposure was not associated with a significant increased risk of congenital anomalies (OR: 1.74 95%CI: 0.78, 3.87). Second trimester exposure to oxycodone was associated with reduction in average length of gestation (aCoef:-0.83, 95%CI: -1.26, -0.41) and birth weight (aCoef:-188, 95%CI: -299, -76). Second trimester exposure was also associated with an increased risk of very pre-term birth (<32 weeks) (OR: 5.03, 95%CI: 1.95, 12.98) and admission to the special care nursery (aOR:1.99, 95%CI: 1.30, 3.03). Third trimester exposure to oxycodone was associated with a reduction in average length of gestation (aCoef:-0.33, 95%CI: -0.63, -0.02) compared with the comparison group. The use of oxycodone in pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of congenital anomalies. However, oxycodone exposure was associated with a short period of gestation, pre-term birth, and NAS, which likely contributed to a longer period of hospitalization following birth.
      Perspective: This article assesses the neonatal risks associated with prenatal exposure to oxycodone, providing clinicians and patients with important information on the safety of oxycodone in the treatment of pain in pregnancy.

      Key words

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