According to the results of a new study, expecting mothers who take Celebrex (generic: celecoxib) and other similar over-the-counter painkillers during their first trimester of pregnancy may be at an increased risk of giving birth to babies with serious birth defects. Congenital abnormalities identified by the research include cleft lip, spina bifida, and amniotic band syndrome (ABS). While the results of the study fail to conclusively prove that Celebrex causes these birth defects, they raise serious red flags and warrant more in-depth research.
Celebrex & Pregnancy
The new study, which was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that infants were three times more likely to be born with no eyes (anophthalmia) or abnormally small eyeballs (microphthalmia) if their mothers took Celebrex or other similar non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) during pregnancy.
The risk of a baby being born with amniotic band syndrome, a rare congenital abnormality that causes birth defects such as clubfoot, was also approximately three times higher among expecting mothers who took painkillers while pregnant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anophthalmia and microphthalmia occur in approximately one out of every 5,300 live births in the United States. Only about one in 10,000 infants are born with amniotic band syndrome each year.
The new findings are based on data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, which interviewed new mothers around the country about the medications they took during their pregnancies. Among the information requested, women were asked whether they used common painkillers including aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen while pregnant.
According to the results of the study, several different types of birth defects were increased in babies born to mothers who took these painkillers during pregnancy. For example, the risk of cleft palate rose by up to 80%, and spina bifida birth defects jumped by 60% in babies who had been exposed to the drugs in utero.
And while these statistics fall short of proving that painkillers actually caused these defects, many in the scientific community feel the links are strong enough to warrant further analysis.
“Until we know more information, women should consult with their doctor to weigh risks and benefits of taking pain medication,” said study co-author Martha Werler, who studies birth defects at Boston University.
Celebrex Birth Defects
The maternal use of Celebrex during pregnancy has been associated with the following congenital birth defects:
- Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS)
- Cleft Palate
- Spina Bifida