Measurement of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Evaluation of Short Forms

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1) How well do the short forms previously developed from the Maternal Opioid Treatment: Human Experimental Research (MOTHER) neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) scale (MNS) discriminate between neonates untreated and treated for NAS? (2) Can a short form be developed that is superior to other short forms in discriminating between the two groups?

DESIGN/PARTICIPANTS: This secondary analysis study used data from 131 delivered neonates in the MOTHER study, a randomized controlled trial comparing neonatal and maternal outcomes in opioid-dependent pregnant women administered buprenorphine or methadone.

SETTING: Comprehensive care was provided at seven university hospitals.

OUTCOME MEASURES: A 19-item instrument measuring neonatal abstinence signs.

RESULTS: A five-item index proved superior to the previous indices (ps < 0.01) and discriminated between the treated and untreated NAS groups as well as did the MNS total score (p=0.09).

CONCLUSIONS: A short form developed from the MNS shows promise as a possible screening measure.

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