Study Identifies Link Between Birth Defects and Popular Over-The-Counter Pain Killers

A recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology adds weight to the long-suspected link between over-the-counter pain killers and congenital birth defect. According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, pregnant women who receive over-the-counter painkiller treatment may significantly increase their risk of giving birth to a child with a distinct set of congenital abnormalities.

The recent study was established to determine if the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in early pregnancy was associated with a range of structural birth defects. As a multi-site population -based, case control study of risk factors for birth defects, officials examined women from all over the United Sates. During the course of the interview process, women were frequently asked about the specific NSAID drugs they took during their first trimester of pregnancy.

Among the women who participated in the National Birth Defect Prevention Study, 22.6% reported their use of NSAIDs in the first trimester of pregnancy, most commonly ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. The majority of the 29 defect groups examined, did not display a propensity with NSAID use. There was, however, a small to moderate increase in the following birth defects after ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen exposure:

  • Oral clefts
  • Neural tube defects
  • Anophthalmia
  • Microphthalmia
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis
  • Amniotic bands’/limb body wall defects
  • Transverse limb deficiencies

Several abnormalities exhibited a larger increase in their occurrence rate than others. Distinct birth defects were slightly increased in babies whose mothers reported taking ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen during their first trimester of pregnancy. The risk of cleft palate rose by as much as 80% in some cases, while spina bifida jumped by 60%.

However, the increases in most birth defects were not affiliated with over-the-counter pain killers. “Of the 29 different defects we examined, we were happy that a vast majority were not tied to NSAIDs,” said study co-author Martha Werler, who studies birth defects at Boston University. According to Werler, the results don’t prove that pain killers are to blame, but they should serve as a warning sign for the future.

Do I Have a NSAID 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 NSAID lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one has given birth to a child with a birth defect that you feel may be the result of taking NSAIDs during pregnancy, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free case review, please click the link below or call toll free 24 hrs/day 1-(949) 557-5800.