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Brain Sci. 2014, 4(2), 321-334; doi:10.3390/brainsci4020321

The Neurodevelopmental Impact of Neonatal Morphine Administration

Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University in St. Louis, One Children's Place, Suite 5S-31, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 February 2014 / Revised: 1 April 2014 / Accepted: 15 April 2014 / Published: 25 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotoxicity and General Anaesthetics in the Young)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [212 KB, uploaded 25 April 2014]


Medical management of newborn infants often necessitates recurrent painful procedures, which may alter nociceptive pathways during a critical developmental period and adversely effect neuropsychological outcomes. To mitigate the effects of repeated painful stimuli, opioid administration for peri-procedural analgesia and ICU (intensive care unit) sedation is common in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). A growing body of basic and animal evidence suggests potential long-term harm associated with neonatal opioid therapy. Morphine increases apoptosis in human microglial cells, and animal studies demonstrate long-term changes in behavior, brain function, and spatial recognition memory following morphine exposure. This comprehensive review examines existing preclinical and clinical evidence on the long-term impacts of neonatal pain and opioid therapy. View Full-Text
Keywords: neonate; pain; development; neurotoxicity; morphine neonate; pain; development; neurotoxicity; morphine
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Attarian, S.; Tran, L.C.; Moore, A.; Stanton, G.; Meyer, E.; Moore, R.P. The Neurodevelopmental Impact of Neonatal Morphine Administration. Brain Sci. 2014, 4, 321-334.

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