Researchers see possible link between opioids, birth defect


Make text smaller Make text larger





By Mike Stobbe

Health officials are looking into a possible link between prescription opioids and a horrific birth defect.

When a baby is born with its intestines hanging outside the stomach, due to a hole in the abdominal wall, it's called gastroschisis. Most are repaired through surgery.

Roughly 1,800 such cases are seen in the U.S. each year, but the number has been rising and officials don't know why.

The condition seems to occur more often when the mom is a teenager or was smoking or drinking alcohol early in pregnancy, researchers have noted.

But a study released Thursday noted cases were 60 percent more common in counties that had the highest overall opioid prescription rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study focused on 20 states.

The study did not see if each mother had been taking opioids, and it does not say opioids caused the birth defects. But it echoes earlier research that found a higher risk of birth defects when moms took opioid painkillers like oxycodone just before or early in pregnancy.

Also Thursday, the CDC's director and two other agency officials wrote a commentary in the journal Pediatrics urging more study of the possible connection between opioids and birth defects.

“The report sounds an early alarm for the need to increase our public health surveillance on the full range of fetal, infant, and childhood outcomes potentially related to these exposures," wrote CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and his two co-authors.



Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments

Pool Rules



MUST READ NEWS

Uncertainty shadows Pennsylvania's debate over nuclear power
By Marc Levy
Four decades after Three Mile Island became shorthand for America's worst commercial nuclear power accident, financial rescues of nuclear power plants are...

Read more »
Image

Pike County is getting new paper-trail voting equipment
— Pike County will replace its voting machines with voter-verifiable paper trail equipment by the 2020 presidential primary, the...
Read more »
Image

Pike's Peek
Here's a clue that inspires warm thoughts on a cold February night: where have you seen this neat array of firewood? If you think you know, fill out the form below.
Read more »
Image

Pike's Peek
Good work by last week's "Peekers."
Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg writes that the detail in last week's clue may be found at the "County Building on...

Read more »
Image

VIDEOS



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Community Newspapers



MOST READ

Where in answers
Pike's Peek
  • Feb 21, 2019

MOST COMMENTED



Weather in Milford, PA