Written by: Heather Helmendach, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
Lyrica (pregabalin) is often prescribed for various conditions and health issues such as epilepsy, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and generalized anxiety disorder.
According to the study described in a recent journal article published in Neurology, women who took Lyrica during the first trimester of their pregnancy were three times more likely to have children with birth defects than women who did not take Lyrica while pregnant. Additionally, the infants of women who took Lyrica were six times more likely to have central nervous system defects.
The other major birth defects observed in this study include heart defects and issues with various organs.
Of note, the total percentage of women who had children with birth defects after taking Lyrica was six percent, compared to two percent of women who did not take Lyrica.
This HealthDay article provides some additional information on the matter:
"These results should be taken with caution," said study senior author Dr. Thierry Buclin, from the Swiss Teratogen Information Service and the division of clinical pharmacology at the Lausanne University Hospital, in Switzerland. "It's a warning, but it cannot be taken as a certainty...We should not unduly alarm mothers-to-be about a definite risk. This is just a signal, a warning that there might be a problem with Lyrica," he said.
Experiments in animals have also linked Lyrica to birth defects, Buclin said. "But there are many examples of drugs showing an adverse effect, which turn out to be rather safe in humans," he explained.
Buclin doesn't currently recommend Lyrica for women who are thinking about becoming pregnant.
Seemingly, the results of the aforementioned study are not enough to definitively say that Lyrica causes an increased number of major birth defects, and more research is needed. However, there is still cause for concern, and women who are pregnant -- or plan to become pregnant -- should avoid taking Lyrica.
We will continue to monitor the medical literature for additional research concerning the link between taking Lyrica during the first trimester of pregnancy and an increased risk of major birth defects.
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