neonatal abstinence syndrome

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(NAS) symptoms and signs exhibited by a newborn baby (neonate) due to drug withdrawal (see dependence). This results when the fetus has been exposed to addictive drugs through maternal substance abuse or misuse. Symptoms tend to occur in the first few days of life (in the case of methadone, which is a long-acting opioid, symptom onset may be delayed). They include tremors and jerking, high-pitched crying, sneezing, sucking of fists, feeding difficulties, shortened periods of sleep between feeds, rapid breathing, sweating, loose stools, nasal stuffiness, and frequent yawning. Treatment includes swaddling or snugly wrapping in a blanket, as babies with NAS are often difficult to comfort. Other nonpharmacological measures include frequent small feeds using high-calorie formula and intravenous fluids if babies become dehydrated. Drug therapy may be used for seizures and withdrawal symptoms.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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