PPIs during pregnancy may cause birth defects

(3 May 2010: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- The use of common anti-reflux medications during pregnancy may be associated with cardiac birth defects, according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

More than half of all women who become pregnant suffer from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), better known as heartburn, which can be hard to control during pregnancy. Often symptoms start early in pregnancy when the fetus is most vulnerable to the effects of medications, which can lead to birth defects. Because of the prevalence of GERD during pregnancy, investigators sought to determine the safety of a popular class of anti-reflux medications, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), on the developing fetus.

Usually, physicians treat pregnancy-related GERD with conservative measures such as advising patients to eat smaller meals, but frequently, these methods are ineffective, which is why physicians are increasingly prescribing PPIs. Since PPIs are relatively new to the market, not much is known about their safety during pregnancy. For example, omeprazole, the most commonly used PPI, is designated as a class C by FDA . . .

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A different write up of the same study:

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