Pregnant women who take the most widely used pain relievers early in pregnancy may be at increased risk for specific heart-related birth defects, that according to a Canadian study.
The Canadian study compared 93 births diagnosed with birth defects in 1,056 women who had prescriptions for NSAIDs filled during the first three months of a pregnancy to 2,478 births with birth defects in 35,331 women who did not fill prescriptions for the pain relievers. They looked at records from 1997-2003.
After adjusting for other known risk factors for birth defects, the researchers reported that women who took NSAIDs early in pregnancy were roughly twice as likely to have a baby diagnosed with any birth defect in the first year as women who did not have NSAID prescriptions filled, and they were three times as likely to give birth to babies with a structural defect such as an abnormal opening, or hole, in the dividing wall separating the right and left sides of the heart.
The most commonly prescribed NSAIDs were naproxen, sold by prescription as Naprosyn and over the counter in the U.S. as Aleve; ibuprofen, sold as prescription Motrin or generic ibuprofen and over the counter as Advil and Motrin; and the prescription Cox-2 inhibitor pain relievers Vioxx and Celebrex.
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