Standing Up for Families Affected by Birth Injuries in St. Louis, Kansas City and Surrounding Areas
Of the 4 million infants born annually in the United States, about 3 to 5 percent are born with birth defects, according to the March of Dimes. Birth defects account for 20 percent of all infant deaths in the United States, more than from any other single cause.
For the majority of birth defects, the cause is unknown. However, a small percentage of the malformations can be attributed to use of prescription drugs by an expectant mother.
The following are some drugs that can cause birth defects. Many are in a class of drugs called SSRIs – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – which are generally antidepressants and prescribed to treat depression and related symptoms:
- Accutane (isotretinoin) – is highly effective for treating severe cystic acne.
- Celexa (citalopram) – relieves depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Crestor (rosuvastatin) – blocks the production of cholesterol.
- Cytotec (misoprostol) – used to heal ulcers.
- Lexapro (escitalopram) – used to treat anxiety and major depressive disorder.
- Paxil (paroxetine) – used to treat depression and related disorders.
- Soriatane (acitretin) – for the treatment of severe psoriasis.
- Taxol (paclitaxel) – used to treat ovarian and breast cancer.
- Zoloft – for depression and post-traumatic stress disorders.
There are few drugs that do not carry some risk for pregnant women, or women who could become pregnant while taking the drug. In addition, most drugs are not tested on women who are pregnant; they are tested on laboratory animals.
Critical Timing – The First Three Months of Pregnancy
What experts do know is that most birth defects occur in the first three months of pregnancy, when the baby’s organs are forming. It is in these crucial first few weeks – often before a woman even knows she’s pregnant – that an embryo is most susceptible to teratogens – substances that can cause defects. However, some birth defects do occur later in pregnancy as well.
Birth defects can affect almost any part of a baby’s body. Approximately 1 out of every 100 to 200 babies born each year is diagnosed with a heart defect. Brain and spine defects are other common birth defects. These birth defects affect an estimated 1 of 1,000 pregnancies. Brain and spine birth defects are less frequent than heart defects, but they often cause many fetal and infant deaths. Birth defects of the lip and roof of the mouth are also common. These types of birth defects, are known as orofacial clefts, and consist of cleft lip, cleft palate, and combined cleft lip and cleft palate.
Talking With Your Doctor About Drug Side Effects
A woman should always talk with her doctor about the risks and benefits of any drugs before taking them. Together, they can decide if the benefit of the drug is worth the possible risk. If a woman finds out that she is pregnant while she is taking a drug, she should talk to her doctor immediately. Some drugs are needed to keep the mother healthy. Not taking some drugs while she is pregnant may put both the woman’s and her baby’s health in danger.
Despite the benefits of seeing a doctor before conceiving, only 26 percent of women planning a pregnancy do so, according to the March of Dimes. Furthermore, health experts estimate more than 50 percent of pregnancies are unplanned.
Contact the Birth Injury Attorneys of Brown & Crouppen
If you or a loved one has taken a prescription medicine and given birth to a child with a birth defect, contact Brown & Crouppen today for a free case evaluation by a qualified defective drug attorney. For a free consultation with one of our attornesy, call toll free 800-536-4357 or submit our online contact form.