Methadone and Infant Vision

Drug-addicted pregnant women are often given methadone, a heroin substitute, during their pregnancy; it’s associated with a “reduced incidence of both intrauterine growth restriction and preterm birth compared with non-treated heroin addicts.” New evidence, however, shows that methadone may cause vision problems in children exposed in utero, and infants who experience severe methadone withdrawal post-birth are particularly prone to vision problems.[%comments]

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  1. Jonas says:

    Sure thing, Methadone is neither mineral water nor soda pops but these side effects are probably less severe than the ones got from a pregnancy of a non-treated heroinist.

    The latter usually doesn’t have the most organized life in comparision to the one in a Methadone programme. While on Methadone, you usually tend to keep a better diet and therefore a more suitable environment for the infant.

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  2. JoelP says:

    The case series does not compare methadone users with untreated heroin abusers. It is possible that the visual problems are from methadone, from other drugs, or from nutritional deficits; it’s tough to know what to make of the series without a followup actually comparing the methadone users to untreated opiate abusers.

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  3. RP says:

    This was a very small scale study (20 babies) and many of the mothers involved were using other substances, e.g. cocaine, alocohol, benzodiazepines, during their pregnancies. The researchers themselves noted that they could not definitely attribute the eyesight issues to methadone. There was also a lack of a control group in this study so there was no way of knowing if babies exposed to the substances mentioned above but not methadone may have similar problems.

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  4. NSK says:

    We need to make punishments so severe that future offenders will think twice, thrice – may be forever – before committing the crime.

    We wouldn’t have this methadone problem if people didn’t take drugs, especially when pregnant. So, set an example of a severe punishment … and sit back and see how the rest of the potential offenders automatically clean themselves up.

    If you look in the gulf countries, the reason theft is uncommon is because your hand could be cut off for stealing. We have the option to set such examples for the offenses we consider to be unacceptable by our societal standards.

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  5. jp says:

    It’s not possible to conclude that these vision problems were definitely caused by methadone. This is something that needs to be watched. But there is excellent evidence that people (including pregnant women) in methadone maintenance programs do remarkably well compared to those who continue using other opioids, so it’s important to not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    On the other hand, while harsh punishments are often advocated for addiction problems, there is no evidence that they reduce addictions, and there is great evidence that they cause harm, sometimes more harm than the addiction itself.

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  6. Grant says:

    How cute, NSK still believes in the War on Drugs.

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  7. Mojo Bone says:

    There is a fundamental difference between a public health problem and a crime problem, NSK.

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