Strong Pain Killers Linked to Birth Defects

All women who are pregnant, or considering becoming pregnant, are aware that taking drugs (prescription or OTC) comes with risks.  These drugs are classified according to their likelihood of hurting the baby.  However, many of these drugs are still poorly understood and many haven’t been tested on pregnant women at all.

A new study, however, looked at opioid use in pregnant women.  Opioids include such common painkillers as codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone, appeared to increase the risk of birth defects significantly.

Women who took these drugs during their first trimester had a 2 to 3-fold increase in certain serious birth defects, such as spina bifida, hydrocephaly, congenital glaucoma, gastroschisis (a fissure along the abdominal wall), and some congenital heart defects. 

Researchers are warning that women who are pregnant, or may become pregnant, talk to their doctors before taking any prescription drug, and carefully assess the necessity of use vs. the risk of harm to the baby.  There are no completely “safe” drugs in pregnancy, so the benefit of the drug must without question outweigh the risks of taking it. 

Have you ever taken an opioid painkiller or another strong drug during pregnancy?

Source: Opioid painkillers raise birth defects

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