More research needed on link between fetal opioid exposure and birth defects, study finds

A review of medical literature revealed a need for more well-designed research on the association between fetal opioid exposure and birth defects.


For the systematic review — published in the journal Pediatrics — researchers analyzed studies published from 1946 to 2016 compiled in the Medline and Embase databases. A total of 68 studies met criteria for inclusion. Among these studies, just 46 enrolled a comparison group that had not been exposed to opioids, 30 performed statistical tests to quantify the association between prenatal opioid exposure and congenital birth defects, and 17 total studies identified a correlation between opioids and birth defects.

"Uncertainty remains regarding the teratogenicity of opioids," concluded the study's authors. "A careful assessment of risks and benefits is warranted when considering opioid treatment for women of reproductive age."

More articles on opioids: 
FDA commissioner establishes new opioid committee 
Poll: 1 in 3 millennials know someone addicted to opioids 
Barnesville Hospital launches addiction services to curb drug overdoses

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