Birth Defects

McGlannan, Frances; Wilson, James
December 1973
Journal of Learning Disabilities;Dec1973, Vol. 6 Issue 10, p617
Academic Journal
The article discusses the effects of drugs and environmental chemicals taken during pregnancy. Drugs taken during the first trimester account for a very minor proportion of birth abnormalities. However, simultaneous exposure to interacting drugs or chemicals probably causes many of the poorly understood fetal defects. A few drugs, such as sulfonamides, cortisone, antiemetics, and most tranquilizers, have been used so extensively during pregnancy without causing defects, that they can be assumed to have little or no teratogenic risk. The ubiquitous food preservative benzoic acid and aspirin interact metabolically in man and it has been found that the teratogenic effect of an aspirin dose in rats can be increased by administering benzoic acid concurrently. Organic mercury is also a known teratogen, as are all anticonvulsants. The sulfonylurea hypoglycemic agents should be viewed suspiciously with regard to their teratogenic potential. Alkylating agents are suspect because of their polyfunctional suppression of growth.


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