Opioids associated with birth defects

January 01, 0001

Opioids associated with birth defects

These US authors examined whether maternal opioid treatment between 1 month before pregnancy and the first trimester was associated with birth defects with data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (1997 through 2005), an ongoing population-based case-control study.

They found: "Therapeutic opioid use was reported by 2.6% of 17,449 case mothers and 2.0% of 6701 control mothers. Treatment was statistically significantly associated with conoventricular septal defects (OR, 2.7), atrioventricular septal defects (OR, 2.0), hypoplastic left heart syndrome (OR, 2.4), spina bifida (OR, 2.0), or gastroschisis (OR, 1.8) in infants."

The authors concluded: "Consistent with some previous investigations, our study shows an association between early pregnancy maternal opioid analgesic treatment and certain birth defects. This information should be considered by women and their physicians who are making treatment decisions during pregnancy."

Although causation is not established, it seems best to avoid opioids in early pregnancy.

For the full abstract, click here.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 204:314.e1-11
© 2011 to Elsevier, Inc.
Maternal treatment with opioid analgesics and risk for birth defects. Cheryl S. Broussard, Sonja A. Rasmussen, Jennita Reefhuis, et al. Correspondence to Dr. Broussard: [email protected]

Category: W. Pregnancy, Family Planning. Keywords: analgesic, birth defect, medication, opioid, pregnancy, case- control study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Linda French, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 3 May 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.