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Popular pain medication linked to increased birth defect risk

A recent study suggests a popular pain medication may be linked to a higher risk of major birth defects.

A recent study suggests that pregabalin, which is sold as Lyrica, may lead to an increased risk of major birth defects, according to WebMD. The study suggests that the risk of major birth defects may increase threefold for women who take Lyrica during their first trimester. Lyrica is a commonly prescribed drug that has been approved to treat a wide range of seizure and pain-related issues. It is also often prescribed off-label to help people suffering from anxiety and mental health issues.

Increased birth injury risk

The study by the Swiss Teratogen Information Service relied on data collected from 164 participants who were taking Lyrica during their first trimester. Researchers compared that data to data collected from 656 pregnant women who were on no anti-seizure medication during their pregnancy.

The researchers found that six percent of the pregnancies with the women taking Lyrica resulted in a major birth defect, which was three times higher than among the group that was not taking the anti-seizure medication. Furthermore, the women on Lyrica were six times more likely to give birth to a baby suffering from a major defect in the central nervous system, according to Health Newsline.

Further testing needed

The results are worrying and suggest that pregnant women should be cautious about taking such medication. However, because the study was small in size it does require further testing before its results can be confirmed. Researchers added that women of child-bearing age considering taking the drug should first ensure that any potential benefits outweigh the possible risks.

Lyrica is a commonly prescribed drug used to treat a wide array of pain and seizure-related symptoms. Currently it is approved by the FDA to treat neuropathic pain, such as fibromyalgia, epileptic seizures, and pain related to spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and shingles. Additionally, Lyrica is often prescribed off-label to help treat those who are suffering from generalized anxiety disorder and other mental health issues.

Birth defects

For parents who learn that their child is suffering from a birth injury, the news can be almost unbearable, especially if it is determined that such an injury was avoidable. Sadly, situations can and do arise that can lead to a birth injury, including birth injuries related to harmful prescription drugs. Parents who have a child suffering from a birth injury should contact a personal injury law firm that specializes in these unique cases. An attorney who is dedicated to helping families in these difficult situations will be best placed to offer compassionate and knowledgeable advice about what legal options may be available going forward.


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