Medications that Cause Serious Birth Defects

medication_birth_defectsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect. A disturbing number of these are caused by the use of dangerous medications during pregnancy, and many can be prevented through greater awareness and safer practices.


Throughout the history of modern medicine, a number of popular medications have been linked to serious birth defects and fetal death after they have been on the market for quite some time. Some of the most widely known include thalidomide, a medication used during the mid 1950s as a sedative and antiemetic agent, and Accutane, a medication used since the 1980s to treat severe acne.


Yet, even many unsuspecting drugs may increase a women's risk of having a baby with a birth defect. Yaz, one of the most popular birth control pills on the market, has been cited in various studies as a medication that may potentially cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy. With an average failure rate of 5 percent, many women unknowingly expose their baby to the drug before their pregnancy can be detected.


Many women who have suffered because of Yaz and other medications have sought legal recourse against drug manufacturers by filing Yaz lawsuits, as well as lawsuits against other manufacturers of dangerous medications. Consumer advocates have argued that in a number of instances, negligent drug companies have hidden or downplayed serious risks posed to pregnant women by their medications.


Experts around the nation continue to express astonishment and concern over the amount of dangerous drugs used by many pregnant women today. In today's environment of ubiquitous medication use, health care professionals are instructing women to speak with their doctor before taking any new medication, regardless of whether it is available by prescription or over-the-counter. Because even common pain medications such as Aleve and Aspirin can cause harm to a developing baby, patient advocates are warning women to air on the side of caution for their own safety and the safety of their baby.


For more information on drugs that can cause harmful effects during pregnancy, visit

Comments (3)

Laura Pavy
Said this on 09-06-11 At 03:28 pm

Is this widely known in the Australian medical community? I had a late miscarriage on 28/05/2011. My doctor had explained to me that taking Effexor would be alright during pregnancy!

Lauren Prestwidge
Said this on 11-06-11 At 01:01 pm

We lost our baby girl last June at 20 weeks. She was diagnosed with Turners Syndrome and we were advised to have an induced stillbirth. I took Efexor during that pregnancy and after losing my baby, I ceased taking it as I feared it may have caused problems. I'm now 25 weeks' pregnant with our little boy and he is (so far fingers crossed) perfectly healthy. I was also advised that Efexor was safe to take during pregnancy but felt that not taking anything was a far better option for me this time around. I took Efexor for 5 years for anxiety but now am managing it without any medication. I'd be horrified to know that medication caused any harm to my little girl.  My husband and i still struggle every day with the loss, but we've made it through the past year with each other's love and support

Paul Thomas
Said this on 18-07-12 At 09:46 pm

I've heard about lawsuits against Yaz's manufacturer due to health endangering side effects. But about it possibly causing birth deffects I didn't know, and I suspect a lot of women don't have a clue about the risk to them and their possible children

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