Prescription painkillers, widely used by childbearing age women, double birth defects risk

January 22, 2015 6:07 PM

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Prescription painkillers, widely used by childbearing age women, double birth defects risk

More than one-fourth of privately-insured and one-third of Medicaid-enrolled women of childbearing age filled prescriptions for opioid-based (narcotic) painkillers between 2008 and 2012, according to a new analysis published today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Many women are unaware that prescription opioid-based medications such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or morphine, used to treat severe pain, may increase the risk for serious birth defects of the baby's brain, spine, and heart, as well as preterm birth when taken during pregnancy. Use of these...

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