Pregnancy and drugs against hypertension

A class of drugs used to fight hypertension, considered safe even in the early stages of pregnancy, could increase considerably the risk of birth defects. These medicines, ACE inhibitors, were considered at risk only after the third month from conception, but this belief is contradicted by a study conducted in Tennessee, which has been considering 30,000 births and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. According to the study, since often, in the first two months, women are not aware of ongoing pregnancy, these drugs should be avoided by anyone who is more likely to become pregnant or intend to do so. W. Cooper (Vanderbilt University School of Medicine), who led the research, believes that the analyzed data suggest that the use of such drugs in these circumstances is not secure, and therefore should be avoided, especially since there are other types of medications for the treatment of hypertension in pregnant women. The researchers found that among the 209 women who have taken one of the medications (ACE inhibitors) during the first three months of pregnancy, the 7.1% gave birth to a baby with severe malformations. In contrast, among the 202 women who have taken other drugs for the control of hypertension, the percentage of birth defects was equal to 1.7%. The overall rate of defects in infants between 29,096 women who have not taken any hypertensive pregnancy was 2.6%. According to Cooper, the sample is limited, but the risk is however easily avoidable. According to j. Friedman (University of British Columbia), the results must be confirmed; Friedman believes that this study does not represent the final word on the subject, but it is surprising that it is the first time that this issue is taken into account. In general, very little is known about the effects of drugs on foetuses, also because American health authorities do not require this kind of checks before approving the deployment of a new drug. Furthermore, according to Friedman, the voluntary system for the identification of effects is inefficient and often misleading; This however does not prevent doctors to prescribe certain drugs to pregnant women.


Post a Comment