Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Jeanie McHugo

Second Advisor

Daryl Sieg


MAT, methadone, buprenorphine, pregnancy, OUD, opioid, addiction, NAS, neonate


The purpose of this research and systematic literature review is to determine which pharmacotherapeutic agent, methadone or buprenorphine, leads to better outcomes in cases of pregnant mothers with opioid use disorder (OUD). Outcomes considered are maternal compliance, neonatal abstinence syndrome severity, and neonatal length of hospital stay. In the review, PubMed, Clinical Key, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and DynaMed Plus were searched. Key terms searched were “methadone, buprenorphine, pregnancy”, “opioids, pregnancy”, “neonatal abstinence syndrome” and “medication assisted treatment, pregnancy”. Articles were narrowed with applications of filters for articles in the past fifteen years and by use of the English language. Selection criteria for research articles, original research, and metaanalysis included peer review. Other articles were found from the bibliographies of pertinent review and original research articles. Several studies were excluded, as their study population was not specified to have diagnosed OUD in pregnancy. The drawbacks to many of the studies is the inconsistencies in study conditions, and very small sample sizes. Much of the research presented shows evidence for the use of buprenorphine in the treatment of OUD in pregnancy. Buprenorphine seems to be a better medication assisted treatment (MAT) for the neonate in terms of reduced neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and reduced length of hospital stay postpartum, while methadone still performs better for adherence for the mother. More research still needs to be done in order to demonstrate buprenorphine’s superior efficacy compared to methadone use in pregnant patients with OUD.