Pharmacotherapy for pregnant women with addictions. Academic Article Review uri icon


  • Dependence on alcohol, nicotine, or illicit drugs during pregnancy continues to be a problem of major medical, social, and fetal consequences. The purpose of this systematic review was to summarize current experience that pertains to pharmacotherapy for pregnant women with specific chemical addictions.Studies were identified through Medline and HealthSTAR (1979-2003) that linked specific pharmacotherapy with pregnancy. This article reviews the English language literature for clinical studies that link the 2 conditions. In addition, reference lists of all articles that were obtained were evaluated for other potential citations.Pregnant women are excluded systematically from almost all drug trials. Most knowledge about the fetal effects from maternal substance and medication use comes from animal data and from case reports and small clinical series. With the exception of methadone and nicotine replacement, clinical experience with antiaddictive medications in pregnant women is either very limited (alcohol, stimulants) or nonexistent (cannabis, hallucinogens).Antiaddiction medications are important in the treatment of pregnant women with opioid and nicotine dependence and are of growing importance in the treatment of alcohol and stimulant dependence. Future directions will be toward increasing knowledge about current drug therapy and in developing new antiaddiction medications.

publication date

  • December 2004