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Prenatal exposure to opioids can lower IQ in infants

July 12 (UPI) – A new study reveals that pregnant women who take opioids expose their unborn children to a high risk of mental and physical disabilities later in life.

Children who had been exposed to opioids before birth then had lower IQs than those who were not exposed to drugs, according to findings released Friday in the JAMA Network Open. These children also have more problems with physical development.

"Our results show that children have neurodevelopmental problems as early as 6 months of age and that they need identification, intervention, and support. early to make sure they do not fall to the water, "Ju-Lee Oei, Royal Children's Hospital in Australia and author of the study, said UPI.

The work included 26 studies involving more than 1,400 children aged six months to 18 years who had been exposed to opioids before birth and nearly 3,000 others without exposure. The researchers say the results suggest that children exposed to opioids before birth are three times more likely to develop a severe intellectual disability.

"Opioids are very useful drugs and some mothers will definitely need opioids during their pregnancy to prevent and treat pain and other serious medical problems," Oei said. "However, the community as a whole needs to be informed of the possible adverse effects of intrauterine opioids on the developing child."

Previous research suggests that prenatal opioid exposure could be fueled by a difficult financial situation. One study found that pregnant women living in communities where job prospects were scarce were more likely to become opioid dependent.

Prenatal exposure to opioids can also affect other aspects of a child's life. According to another study, opioid exposure in the uterus could actually lower the pain threshold of newborns.

This problem can also lead to neonatal abstinence syndrome, where babies undergo postnatal withdrawal from opioids. In a study conducted in 2015, the National Institutes of Health estimated that NAS costs $ 1.5 billion a year to US hospitals.

"That it is a mixture of intrauterine exposure to drugs or other problems such as socio-economic factors, genetic, etc., the children having a history of opioid exposure are at risk for long-term neurodevelopmental issues that could have a significant impact on their future functioning and outcomes for adults, "Oei said.

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