Prescription Painkillers Increase Risk of Birth Defects

Prescription Painkillers Increase Risk of Birth Defects | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

A new study shows that taking prescription painkillers shortly before or early in a woman's pregnancy can be incredibly risky. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn that certain opioid pain relievers, including Vicodin, OxyContin and Tylenol-3, increase the risk of several major birth defects.

This particular class of medications more than doubles the chances of having a baby born with life threatening birth defects such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Other defects associated with opioid use include spina bifida, congenital glaucoma, and hydrocephaly.

The findings stem from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, the largest study of birth defects ever performed in the United States. The study was limited to the prescribed use of the drugs, not illicit use. Codeine and hydrocodone were the two most popular opioid painkillers used by study participants.

Congenital heart defects are one of the most common types of birth defects, affecting approximately 40,000 infants each year. The effects of this condition are devastating. Many infants born with the defect do not live longer than a year, and those that do experience a lifetime of medically related disabilities.


If your child was born with a birth defect that you believe may have been caused by a dangerous prescription drug, talk to our Chicago personal injury attorneys today. You may be owed compensation for medical bills and other damages. Our Chicago office can be reached at (800) 774-7120. We serve clients nationwide.