A study of 200,000 women in 2010 has revealed that women who take proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) during the first trimester of their pregnancy are twice as likely to deliver babies with birth defects than women who have not taken the drugs.
PPI’s Can Cause Cardiac Defects
Prescription proton pump inhibitors include Nexium, Dexilant, Prilosec, Zegerid, Prevacid, Protonix, and AcipHex. Current over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors include Prilosec OTC, Zegerid OTC and Prevacid 24HR. The drugs are approved to treat disorders like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach and intestinal ulcers, and esophogeal inflammation.
The study was executed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, and led by Dr. Andrew D. Rhim. Rhim commented on the research he and his collegues presented at Digestive Disease Week just a year ago:
“We feel that our data … can have a large public health impact given the fact that GERD is so common during pregnancy.”
GERD is, in fact, very common during pregnancy, as 50% of women will suffer acid reflux during the gestational period. And while the prescriptions help an uncomfortable and painful condition, their safety regarding fetuses has never been definitively determined. As a class, PPIs work by stopping the release of stomach acid, which, without the assistance of a PPI, can rise up the esophagus and cause what we all know as the sensation of “heartburn.” A number of infants whose mothers took the heartburn medicines were born with cardiac abnormalities that included septal defects, left ventricular defects, and right ventricular defects.
Rhim offered an alternative to PPIs, after releasing the results of his study:
“One way to use this data to impact care would be to make sure that if physicians see pregnant women who complain [about GERD], they make sure those women are taking folic acid. That’s the only thing we know of that can decrease the risk of having a baby with cardiac birth defects.”
Birth Injury Attorneys in New Jersey and Philadelphia
If your child was born with a birth defect, or suffered birth injury due to delivery room negligence, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia. Let the birth injury lawyers at the Mininno Law Office work to earn you the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.