New research has found that women who take Aleve (generic: naproxen) and other similar non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) while pregnant face an increased risk of having babies with severe birth defects. Congenital abnormalities associated with the maternal use of Aleve include clubfoot, cleft palate, spina bifida, anophthalmia, microphthalmia, and amniotic band syndrome (ABS). Due to the catastrophic nature of these birth defects, expecting mothers have been advised to consult with their doctors before beginning a regimen of Aleve.
Aleve & Pregnancy
A new study, which was conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), compared the use of NSAIDs among 15,000 mothers whose children were born with birth defects with 5,000 women whose babies were born normal. The results found marked increases in a number of rare defects.
For example, the research identified the risk of children being born with cleft palate – a cranial malformation that occurs when part of the lip fails to completely fuse together in utero – jumped 50 – 80% in babies born to mothers who took NSAIDs during pregnancy. Spina bifida, a severe neural tube defect characterized by the failure of the backbone and spinal cord to close before birth, was shown to increase by as much as 60%. Additionally, infants born to mothers who took Aleve or aspirin were more than three times as likely to be born without eyes (anophthalmia), or with eyes that were abnormally small (microphthalmia).
Aleve is a common over-the-counter pain reliever that works by reducing hormones that cause pain and inflammation in the body. The drug contains 200 mg of naproxen and 20 mg of sodium (salt), which helps relieve pain faster than with naproxen alone. Aleve is effective for treating arthritis, headaches, muscle aches, pain from the common cold, and menstrual cramps.
Aleve Birth Defects
When taken by expecting mothers during pregnancy, Aleve has been associated with the following birth defects:
Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS)
Aleve is currently classified as a Pregnancy Category C medication, which means that animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus, and that there are no adequate, well-controlled studies in humans. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) advises you to consult your doctor before taking Aleve. Additionally, Aleve can pass into breast milk and has the potential to harm a nursing baby.