Psychosocial interventions for pregnant women in outpatient illicit drug treatment programs compared to other interventions

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Background: Illicit drug use in pregnancy is a complex social and public health problem. It is important to develop and evaluate effective treatments. There is evidence for the effectiveness of psychosocial in this population; however, to our knowledge, no systematic review on the subject has been undertaken. Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions in pregnant women enrolled in illicit drug treatment programs on birth and neonatal outcomes, on attendance and retention in treatment, as well as on maternal and neonatal drug abstinence. In short, do psychosocial interventions translate into less illicit drug use, greater abstinence, better birth outcomes, or greater clinic attendance.? Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group's trial register (May 2006), the Cochrane Central Register of Trials (Central- The Cochrane Library, Issue 3, 2005); MEDLINE (1.1996-8.2006); EMBASE (1.1996-8.2006); CINAHL (1.1982-8.2006), and reference lists of articles. Selection criteria: Randomised studies comparing any psychosocial intervention versus pharmacological interventions or palcebo or non-intervention or another psychosocial intervention for treating illicit drug use in pregnancy. Data collection and analysis: Two reviewers independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Main results: Nine trials involving 546 pregnant women were included. Five studies considered contingency management (CM), and four studies considered manual based interventions such as motivational interviewing (MI). The main finding was that contingency management led to better study retention. There was only minimal effect of CM on illicit drug abstinence. In contrast, motivational interviewing led towards poorer study retention, although this did not approach statistical significance. For both, no difference in birth or neonatal outcomes was found, but this was an outcome rarely captured in the studies. Authors' conclusions: The present evidence suggests that CM strategies are effective in improving retention of pregnant women in illicit drug treatment programs as well as in transiently reducing illicit drug use. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of MI. Overall the available evidence has low numbers and, therefore, it is impossible to accurately assess the effect of psychosocial interventions on obstetrical and neonatal outcomes. It is important to develop a better evidence base to evaluate psychosocial modalities of treatment in this important population. Copyright © 2008 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.




Terplan, M., & Lui, S. (2007). Psychosocial interventions for pregnant women in outpatient illicit drug treatment programs compared to other interventions. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

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