Taking opioids while pregnant may cause immune issues in bub

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

Australian researchers say they have found an association with mums taking opioids while pregnant and their kids having immune issues through their lives. The team looked at data from over 400,000 kids and say those kids whose mums had taken opioids prenatally were more likely to have eczema and dermatitis after they were born, and have an increased risk of infections, asthma, eczema and dermatitis for the rest of their lives. Additionally, the team found no link to these kids having higher risks of allergies, anaphylaxis or autoimmune conditions.

Journal/conference: JAMA Network Open

Link to research (DOI): 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.51933

Organisation/s: The University of Western Australia

Funder: This study is supported by a fellowship from the National and Health Medical Research Council
(Dr Kelty) and partially funded by a merit award from the Department of Health,Western Australia.

Media release

From: JAMA

Prenatal Opioid Exposure and Immune-Related Conditions in Children

About The Study: Prenatal opioid exposure was associated with an increased risk of infection, eczema and dermatitis, and asthma, but not allergies and anaphylaxis or autoimmune conditions in this study of 401,000 neonates. These findings highlight the importance of further study of opioid-induced immune changes during pregnancy, the potential impact on long-term health in exposed children, and the mechanisms of opioid-induced immune dysregulation.


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