Taking Belbuca/Buprenorphine During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Taking Belbuca/Buprenorphine During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Buprenorphine is an opioid agonist which helps patients who are addicted to opioids avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Some women who are currently taking buprenorphine to avoid withdrawal may become pregnant. Other women who are addicted to opioids may begin treatment with buprenorphine after they become pregnant. In this article, you will learn more information on buprenorphine effects on the fetus and about using buprenorphine while pregnant.

According to a Maternal Opioid Treatment Human Experimental Research (MOTHER) study, buprenorphine is a safe alternative to methadone for women who are looking to treat their opioid dependency while pregnant. Using buprenorphine reduces opioid cravings, helps patients avoid withdrawal symptoms, and reduces the health risks related to finding and using opioids. Women who use buprenorphine while pregnant will expose the fetus to less stress than women who use methadone or other opioids while they are pregnant.

Some infants who are born to mothers who are suffering from opioid addiction are born with symptoms of withdrawal -which is referred to as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Using buprenorphine while pregnant helps women avoid fluctuations in opioid blood concentrations that occur with opioid abuse. These fluctuations place stress on the mother and the fetus. However, because buprenorphine is a partial opioid, rather than a full opioid, the medication causes less severe fetal opioid dependence than therapy which uses methadone.

According to the study, women who were treated with buprenorphine birthed infants with milder NAS than those who were exposed to methadone while in the womb. Therefore, buprenorphine effects on the fetus are determined to be much safer than other opioid agonists.

“Buprenorphine may be a good option for pregnant women, particularly those who are new to treatment or who become pregnant while on this medication,” said Dr. Hendrée Jones, the leading researcher who conducted the MOTHER study.

Regardless of this somewhat encouraging study, it is important to remember that you should never take buprenorphine unless it is prescribed to you. Even though it has been deemed to be safer than some drugs, using buprenorphine while pregnant may still cause NAS or other opioid-related stress on the fetus. This syndrome can be very painful and taxing for infants. Signs and symptoms of NAS include body shakes, seizures, overactive reflexes, tight muscle tone, fussiness, excessive crying, poor feeding, slow weight gain, breathing problems, fever, sweating, blotchy skin, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, vomiting, stuffy nose, sneezing, and more. Consult with your doctor if you believe that your baby is suffering from NAS.

If you would like more information about using buprenorphine while pregnant, contact The Recovery Village. You can find treatment options in your area by following this link. In addition, you can learn more about the medication buprenorphine here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, seek help today. The Recovery Village has several resources and treatment programs available for those who are looking to live a happier, healthier, substance-free life. For more information on what The Recovery Village has to offer, you can go online to www.TheRecoveryVillage.com or call our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 855-548-9825.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.