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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) 

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Part 1: Assessment of Infants with 
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)



Drug use among pregnant women can lead to problems in the developing fetus including congenital anomalies, problems with growth, preterm labor, withdrawal or toxicity in the newborn, and later problems with neuro-development. One of the most readily apparent problems created by in utero exposure to drugs is neonatal abstinence syndrome. This presentation will discuss the definition of NAS, the drugs that may cause signs of neonatal abstinence, screening methods and the use of the Finnegan scoring tool to assess the severity of withdrawal signs and the importance of being reliable when scoring. 


Learning Objectives: 

After the completion of this activity, the participant will be able to:

  1. Define neonatal abstinence syndrome.

  2. Identify the incidence and hospital costs of infants with NAS. 

  3. Describe the Finnegan scoring tool and how it is used to assess infants with NAS.


Part 2: Management of Neonatal Abstinence 
Syndrome (NAS): Therapeutic Interventions  



Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) can be potentially severe and cause long hospital stays. Pharmacological interventions are commonly used as treatment and their safety and efficacy is continuing to be studied. Non-pharmacologic interventions and complementary therapies have also been documented. This presentation will discuss the pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic goals of treating infants with NAS. There will also be a discussion of the most common drugs used to manage signs of withdrawal and two different strategies, weight based vs sign based, to determine when pharmacologic treatment is needed.  Additionally, nurse-driven interventions including swaddling, kangaroo care, low stimuli and breastfeeding will also be discussed.


Learning Objectives:

After the completion of this activity, the participant will be able to:

  1. Identify the goal of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment of NAS.  

  2. Discuss the nurse-driven interventions (non-pharmacologic) to support the infant with NAS

  3. Describe two different strategies for treating infants with NAS pharmacologically

Supported by an educational grant 

Philips Healthcare

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