Where you treated with a proton pump inhibitor during pregnancy, only to give birth to a child with birth defects? Studies have indicated that proton pump inhibitors may increase the risks that an infant will be born with a birth defect, especially septal defects of the heart. If you took any proton pump inhibitor, including Nexium, Dexilant, Prilosec, Zegerid, Prevacid, Protonix, or AcipHex, during pregnancy, and your child was born with a heart birth defect, you may be entitled to compensation.
Lawyers at our firm who specialize in defective drug litigation are offering free consultations to any family who believes their child’s birth defect is associated with the use of Nexium, Dexilant, Prilosec, Zegerid, Prevacid, Protonix, or AcipHex during pregnancy. To find out how we can help your family, please contact us today for a no-obligation evaluation of your case.
Proton Pump Inhibitors and Septal Birth Defects
Proton pump inhibitors, available by prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) are approved to treat conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach and small intestine ulcers, and inflammation of the esophagus. Prescription versions of the drugs include Nexium, Dexilant, Prilosec, Zegerid, Prevacid, Protonix, and Aciphex. OTC brands include Prilosec OTC, Zegerid OTC and Prevacid 24HR.
Since their introduction in the 90s, proton pumps have ranked among the top selling drugs, with doctors writing 119 million prescriptions for them in 2009 alone. About half of women experience acid reflux during pregnancy, and physicians are increasingly prescribing proton pump inhibitors to treat them. Yet the safety of the drugs in pregnancy has never been clearly established.
In August 2010, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania published a study which found that use of these drugs during early pregnancy was associated with a doubling in the risk of newborn cardiac birth defects such as septal defects. The University of Pennsylvania’s retrospective study looked at births among 200,000 women. The researchers identified 2,445 cases of cardiac malformations in newborns and compared them with 19,530 matched controls. The researchers found 130 instances of a proton pump inhibitor being prescribed within the first trimester in the women who gave birth to infants with cardiac birth defects.
After adjustment for multiple variables including maternal BMI, smoking status, alcohol use, and use of other medications, the risk for cardiac birth defects remained significant. A history of cardiac malformations or diabetes in the mother was associated with a significantly increased risk of a cardiac defect in the baby, according to the study.
Other studies have also pointed to a link between proton pump inhibitors and birth defects. Although a 2010 study from Denmark published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that the number of children with birth defects born to women taking proton pump inhibitors was not statistically significant, the study also found that women who took the medications in the four weeks leading up to pregnancy had a 39 percent greater risk of having children with birth defects. The study looked at nearly 841,000 births registered with national databases from 1996 to 2008.
Atrial and Ventrical Septal Birth Defects
According to the March of Dimes, about 35,000 infants (1 out of every 125) are born each year with a heart birth defect. Heart defects are among the most common birth defects and are the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths. It is known that certain medications, especially when taken in the first trimester of pregnancy, can increase the risk that a child will be born with a heart birth defect.
A septal birth defect is a hole in the wall (septum) that divides the right and left sides of the heart. Septal defects can cause the blood to circulate improperly, so the heart has to work harder.
There are two main types of septal defects. An atrial septal defect involves a hole in the wall between the heart’s two upper chambers. Many children with an atrial septal defect have few, if any, symptoms. Closing the atrial defect by open-heart surgery in childhood can prevent serious problems later in life.
A ventricular septa defect is a hole between the lower chambers of the heart. Some babies with a large ventricular septal defect don’t grow normally and may become undernourished. Babies with a ventricular septal defect may develop severe symptoms or high blood pressure in their lungs.
Some atrial septal defects can be repaired without surgery by inserting a thin, flexible tube into the heart and then releasing a device that plugs the hole. A surgeon also can close an atrial or ventricular septal defect by sewing or patching the hole. Small holes may heal by themselves or not need repair at all.
Legal Help for Victims of Proton Pump Inhibitor Birth Defects
If your child was born with a birth defect, especially a septal defect, and you took a proton pump inhibitor while pregnant, your family may have valuable legal rights. To find out how our proton pump inhibitor lawyers can help you, please fill out our online form, or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today.