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Hyperthyroid Drugs Cause Birth Defects

Posted on in Defective Prescription Drugs

A report first published last October by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health found that medication taken to treat hyperthyroidism in pregnant women led to birth defects. The report was based on a study which examined more than 815,000 children born between 1996 and 2008. Those who were exposed to hyperthyroid medication early in the pregnancy were more likely to experience birth defects. However, the spectrum of malformations varied considerably.

Drugs used to treat hyperthyroidism are shorthanded as ATDs. According to UpToDate.com, most antithyroid drugs (ATDs) have few risks and side effects. Patients who have an overactive thyroid can have the condition permanently or temporarily. An example of permanent hyperthyroidism would be that brought on by Grave's disease. On the other hand, pregnant women can experience hyperthyroidism. In these cases, ADTs are given to the women temporarily. The 2013 report suggests that new ADTs should be found for use with pregnant women.

There are two main types of ADTs available in the U.S. as of right now. These are Methimazole (MMI) and Propylthiouracil (PTU). MMI, according to UpToDate.com, has a faster onset time and fewer side effects. PTU takes more time to enter the blood stream. However, recent research has found that PTU has a lower risk for pregnant women. Experts now say even PTU should only be given to pregnant women in the first trimester.

The Center for Disease Control reports that approximately 120,000 babies are born annually with a birth defect—more than one in every 33 American babies every year. Birth defects are not only caused by doctors or the fault of a medical professional: if a pregnant woman smokes, drinks alcohol, or takes drugs during pregnancy, it can result in a birth defect. The mother's general health, the types of medications she is on, and her age can all lead to an increased chance of birth defects.

Medical professionals do, however, sometimes unintentionally cause serious and long-lasting birth defects when they are delivery babies. Structural or metabolic defects are often the fault of the doctor or attending obstetricians.

If you have given birth to a child with a birth defect and you believe it to be the fault of a prescribed medication, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact an Arlington Heights defective drug attorney for a consultation today.

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