A study recently published in the journal Pediatrics has suggested that there is a link between using asthma medication during pregnancy and certain birth defects.
Researchers from the New York State Department of Health used the National Birth Defects Prevention Study for data, focusing on 2,853 infants born with birth defects and 6,726 infants born without defects. In the situations where the expectant mother used anti-inflammatory and/or bronchodilator asthma drugs, they found three particular types of rare birth defects that seem to increase in prevalence.
- Esophageal Atresia – Pregnant women who used bronchodilators more than doubled their risk of giving birth to a child with isolated esophageal atresia (a congenital birth defect where the esophagus fails to connect all the way to the stomach, requiring major surgery to ensure survival).
- Anorectal Atresia – Those using anti-inflammatory asthma drugs during the first trimester had more than double the risk of giving birth to an infant with isolated anorectal atresia (closed area of the rectum and/or anus).
- Omphalocele – For expectant mothers who took both types of asthma drugs combined, they faced more than four times the risk of giving birth to a child with omphalocele (an abdominal wall defect where some organs, including the intestines, develop outside of the belly button).
Anti-inflammatory asthma drugs are usually inhaled corticosteroids like Flovent and Pulmicort. Popular bronchodilators used for asthma include Albuterol and Combivent. The two types of drugs are used in combination in products such as Advair and Symbicort.
Pregnancy and Asthma
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that four to 12 percent of pregnant women have asthma, with three percent of pregnant women using asthma medications, including bronchodilators or anti-inflammatory drugs. Currently, doctors recommend that women with asthma continue to use medication to control their condition during pregnancy.
However, the potential safety risks involved with using asthma medications during pregnancy have not been thoroughly researched. According to the CDC, nearly one in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect. Birth defects are one of the leading causes of infant deaths, accounting for more than 20 percent of all infant death. The medical community must seek additional evidence of the safety or danger of asthma medicines so pregnant women can be properly informed.
If your child was born with a birth defect, your family deserves compensation. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free evaluation of your case. We believe in finding justice for those injured by dangerous asthma drugs and other pharmaceuticals that are linked to birth defects.