Attorney general wants warning about affect of opiates on babies

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has joined 42 other attorneys general asking the FDA to put a warning label on opiod pain killers explaining the health consequences babies face when their mothers take the drugs while pregnant.

The states' leading attorneys sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking the agency to put what is called a black box warning on pain killer bottles about the condition neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Under the condition, babies suffer withdrawal symptoms after giving birth. The withdrawal of the opioids can cause tremors, vomiting, high-pitch crying, hyperactivity, weight loss and failure to gain weight.

“Awareness can help prevent a newborn from facing complications in the early stages of life,” Gansler said in a statement. “The health risks to newborns from these drugs require that we take immediate steps to inform pregnant women and their physicians about this growing problem.”

In 2009, an estimated13,539 newborns nationwide were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, or one infant every hour.

These babies have a significantly greater chance of having respiratory issues, low birth weight, feeding difficulties and seizures, Gansler said in a press release.


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