Otherwise known as an opiate (narcotic) analgesic, codeine is a prescription medication indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. As one of the most powerful pain relievers available on the U.S. market, codeine’s applications are often extended into the medical field as well. However, the introduction of codeine may serve as a catalyst for severe complications when given to specific populations. Maternal treatment involving codeine may significantly increase the risk of a child developing a distinct set of severe, life-threatening birth defects.
If you or a loved one has a child who was diagnosed with any of the birth defects mentioned in this article after being exposed to codeine in the womb, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free confidential case evaluation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.
Codeine Birth Defects Lawsuit Overview
Having already established itself on the U.S. market, codeine has assisted millions of patients to treat the symptoms of chronic pain. Its strength is intended for those experiencing moderate to severe pain. However, codeine is also used in conjunction with other medications to assist in persistent coughs. According to a survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its League of Nations agency, codeine stands first in the list of most used opiate drugs.
Codeine belongs to a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics and to a class of medications called antitussives. When codeine is used to treat pain, it works by changing the way the body senses pain. The pain relief induced by analgesics occurs either by blocking pain signals going to the brain or by interfering with the brain’s interpretation of the signals. When codeine is used to reduce coughing, it works by decreasing the activity in the part of the brain that causes coughing.
Unfortunately, a recent study has suggested that codeine may be synonymous with catastrophic complications. Subsequently, certain populations receiving codeine treatment are at risk of developing these complications. Maternal treatment involving codeine can potentially lead to congenital abnormalities. Pregnant women who use the pain reliever may significantly increase their risk of giving birth to a child with a distinct set of birth defects. Due to the severity of these abnormalities, patients may contact a lawyer at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP for a free case evaluation regarding their potential codeine birth defects lawsuit.
Codeine Birth Defects
Maternal treatment with opioid analgesics such as codeine may result in the following birth defects:
- Spina bifida
- Congenital heart defects
- Conoventricular septal defects
- Atrioventricular septal defects
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
- Atrial septal defects
- Tetralogy of fallot
- Pulmonary valve stenosis
Codeine & Pregnancy
A recent CDC study attempted to determine, whether or not, treatment with an opioid analgesic medication just before or during early pregnancy was associated with the occurrence of certain birth defects. The study used data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, a population-based, case-control study to understand the causes of and risk factors for major birth defects in the United States. It is important to note that data revealed that treatment with opioid analgesics just before or during early pregnancy was reported by 2% to 3% of the mothers.
After reviewing the data, findings related to congenital heart defects were consistent with findings of previous studies showing links between the use of opioid analgesics during the first trimester and the occurrence of some heart defects. Congenital heart defects are among the most common birth defects, affecting nearly 1% of U.S. births, and are the main contributor to infant death attributable to birth defects.
Pregnancy Category C
The FDA currently classifies codeine in Pregnancy Category C, which means there have been no adequate and well-controlled studies conducted on the drug to determine whether it may have an impact on an unborn child. The administration has advised that codeine should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefit justifies the risk to the fetus.
Do I Have a Codeine Birth Defects Lawsuit?
The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in codeine birth defects lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one has a child who was diagnosed with any of the birth defects mentioned in this article after being exposed to codeine in the womb, you should contact our lawyers immediately by clicking the link below or calling toll free 1-(949) 557-5800. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.