Medicines Birth Defects

Prescription Drugs Increase Risk of Medicine Birth Defects

Medicine birth defects occur when a developing fetus is exposed to the chemicals in prescription drugs. These defects range in severity from mild to severe impairment to those requiring life-long medical care. Understanding how medicine birth defects occur and the types of birth defects caused by drugs could help expectant parents avoid serious complications.

Types of Birth Defects

Several types of birth defects develop when a fetus comes into contact with prescription drugs.

  • Cleft lip: This deformity results in a gap in the lip.
  • Cleft palate: This deformity occurs due to abnormal facial development. It results in a gap in the palate.
  • Limb deformities: Limb deformities result in shortened limbs or missing parts of limbs.
  • Congenital heart defects: These defects affect how well the heart pumps blood and exchanges blood with the lungs.
  • Spina bifida: This neural tube defect results in an abnormal opening in the spine.
  • Neural tube birth defects: Neural tube defects result in abnormal openings in the spine or brain.

Drug Birth Defects

Drugs used to treat epilepsy, depression and other ailments increase the risk for medicine birth defects in some babies. Types of birth defects caused by medications include the following:

  • Omphalocele, which causes the intestines to protrude from the abdomen
  • Heart malformations that affect the structure and function of the heart
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)
  • Anal atresia, a defect that blocks the anal opening or results in a missing anal opening
  • Hearing and visual impairment
  • Skull deformities
  • Missing or malformed earlobes
  • Abnormal facial development

Several types of drugs increase the risk for these birth defects. They include antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs and drugs used to treat certain skin conditions. Drugs linked to medicine birth defects include, but are not limited to, the following:

Costs of Medicine Birth Defects

Drug birth defects have very real financial and emotional costs. Children born with these types of birth defects require special care and may need several specialists to manage their cases. These specialists include respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists and home health aides. Drug birth defects also cause doubt and fear on the part of parents who wonder why their child developed such health problems.

If you have a child with one or more drug birth defects, you may be entitled to financial compensation to help pay for ongoing medical costs. Call Chaffin Luhana LLP at 1-888-480-1123 for a free review of your situation.