Rationale: Limited pharmacological data are available to guide methadone treatment during pregnancy and postpartum. Objectives: Study goals were to (1) characterize changes in methadone dose across childbearing, (2) determine enantiomer-specific methadone withdrawal kinetics from steady state during late pregnancy, (3) assess enantiomer-specific changes in methadone level/dose (L/D) ratios across childbearing, and (4) explore relationships between CYP2B6, CYP2C19, and CYP3A4 single-nucleotide polymorphisms and maternal dose, plasma concentration, and L/D. Methods: Methadone dose changes and timed plasma samples were obtained for women on methadone (n = 25) followed prospectively from third trimester of pregnancy to 3 months postpartum. Results: Participants were primarily white, Medicaid insured, and multiparous. All women increased their dose from first to end of second trimester (mean peak increase = 23 mg/day); 71 % of women increased from second trimester to delivery (mean peak increase = 19 mg/day). Half took a higher dose 3 months postpartum than at delivery despite significantly larger clearance during late pregnancy. Third trimester enantiomer-specific methadone half-lives (range R-methadone 14.7-24.9 h; S-methadone, 8.02-18.9 h) were about half of those reported in non-pregnant populations. In three women with weekly 24-h methadone levels after delivery, L/D increased within 1-2 weeks after delivery. Women with the CYP2B6 Q172 variant GT genotype have consistently higher L/D values for S-methadone across both pregnancy and postpartum. Conclusions: Most women require increases in methadone dose across pregnancy. Given the shorter half-life and larger clearances during pregnancy, many pregnant women may benefit from split methadone dosing. L/D increases quickly after delivery and doses should be lowered rapidly after delivery.
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