Methylphenidate linked to birth defects

A drug used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has been tied to a heart defect in babies, according to a report published on January 11, 2018. A study discovered that women taking Concerta, Ritalin and similar drugs for ADHD faced an increased likelihood of having babies with heart defects as compared to babies of mothers who did not take drugs for ADHD.

Analysis of over 1.8 million pregnancies in the United States and the use of methylphenidate and/or amphetamine during the first trimester showed that women who took methylphenidate were 11 percent more likely to give birth to children with birth defects.

Women taking this drug were 28 percent more likely to have children who had heart malformations as compared to women who did not use stimulants during pregnancy. Amphetamines didn't show a significant risk of birth defects by comparison.

This correlation led to the study authors claiming is that methylphenidate creates a small but increased risk of birth defects in infants with intrauterine exposure. This is vital information for women looking to become pregnant, since the study showed the risk in the first trimester only.

Avoiding use during pregnancy could help prevent serious injuries to children, but only if the mother can manage her symptoms without the medications. If not, then she can at least have the opportunity to decide if she wants to change medications during pregnancy.

As a mother who has a child with a birth defect, this new information could be important to your case. If you didn't know the risks, you couldn't help prevent an injury to your child. Now you can decide if you want to pursue a case against a drug manufacturer or other party that may have known about the increased risk when you continued taking your medications while pregnant.

Source: VOA news, "ADHD Drug Tied to Heart Defects in Babies," Jan. 11, 2018

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