Researchers from Indiana University have been awarded grants totaling over $1.6 million to analyze the effects that opioid pain medications prescribed to pregnant women have on children. The grant is composed of a $1.22 million award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and $400,000 from the Swedish Research Council.
The researchers will explore connections between mothers who use prescribed opioids for pain treatment during pregnancy and poor effects experienced by their children including premature birth, reduced fetal growth, autism spectrum disorder and ADHD.
Ayesha Sujan, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and a member of the research team, says the team’s analysis will expand on past research.
"We always try to think, ‘What’s the alternative?’" she said in a news release. "It may be greater hardship, if the mom cannot go to work or she cannot take care of herself or her kids without the medication. And so far, we have no good science to show that the medication itself is bad for children or worse than a woman’s underlying condition. The drug could be the best alternative."
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie says the university broke a record in the amount of research money it received in 2019. Read more about that story here.