WASHINGTON, D.C. — Over 25% of women who consumed tetrahydrocanabis during pregnancy also used at least one other illicit drug, according to recently presented data.
“This study reveals a significant concomitant use of [tetrahydrocanabis] with other illicit drugs during pregnancy in our population. … It is important to probe for other illicit drug use in pregnant women who consume [tetrahydrocanabis]. In order to not miss [tetrahydrocanabis] exposures, it is crucial to do complete screening of both mother and infant (particularly meconium in infants),” Edith P. Allen, MD, FAAP, associate professor of pediatrics, University of Arizona, and colleagues wrote.
Allen and colleagues analyzed data from mother-newborn dyads with positive urine-meconium tetrahydrocanabis (THC) screenings from an urban Arizona hospital performed between January 2006 and December 2010 to assess illicit drug use among pregnant women who consumed THC.
Results demonstrated that 26.1% of mother-baby dyads who tested positive for THC also tested positive for another illicit drug. Opioids were the most commonly found drug (11.6%), followed by amphetamines (10.8%) and cocaine (6.5%), according to the researchers.
A separate analysis that compared THC-positive mothers and THC positive babies showed that opioids were the most commonly found drug (16.3%), compared with amphetamines in infants (8.8%).
THC exposure found in urine or meconium screenings was more likely to be detected in infants compared with mothers (42.4% vs. 35.2%).
Physicians should be wary when recommending breastfeeding to their pregnant patients who are THC users, according to a press release.
“Although breastfeeding is usually healthier for newborns than formula feeding, nursing while consuming illicit drugs is not recommended,” Allen said in a press release. – by Casey Hower
Allen EP, et al. Tetrahydrocanabis (THC) and concomitant illicit drug consumption during pregnancy. Abstract #28041. Presented at: 2015 AAP National Conference and Exhibition; Oct. 23-27; Washington, D.C.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.