New York – Health officials are looking at a possible link between prescription opioids and a devastating birth defect.
When a baby is born with his or her intestines hanging out of the stomach, due to a hole in the abdominal wall, it is called gastrosis. Most were repaired by surgery.
About 1,800 such cases are reported in the US. There. Every year, but the number is rising and officials do not know why.
The condition seems to be more frequent when mom is a teenager or was smoking or drinking alcohol early in pregnancy, researchers have noted.
But a study released Thursday indicated cases were 60 per cent more common in counties, which had the highest overall opioid prescription rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Studies focus on 20 states.
The study did not see if each mother had taken opioids, and it did not cause opioids to cause birth defects. But there were earlier studies that found a higher risk of birth defects when moms took opioid painkillers like oxycodone just before or early in pregnancy.
Also, Thursday, the director of the CDC and two other agencies wrote a commentary on the pediatric journal, which has been studying more about the possibility of opioids and birth defects.
"This report addresses earlier concerns about the need to increase our public health surveillance in the full range of fetuses, babies, childhood outcomes, and potential businesses," wrote Dr. Robert Redfield's director and two co-authors.