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Opioid Painkillers Linked to Birth Defects

Opioid Painkillers Linked to Birth Defects

The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog (3/2, Maugh II) reported, "Consuming opioid pain relievers such as codeine, oxycodone or hydrocodone just before pregnancy or early in pregnancy increases the risk of certain birth defects, especially congenital heart defects," according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studyin the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Cheryl S. Broussard of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, and colleagues found that exposure to the opioid painkillers "doubled the risk
of having an infant with hypoplastic left heart syndrome" and several other heart problems. It also increased the risk for spina bifida, hydrocephaly, congenital glaucoma and gastroschisis.

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