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Birth Defects

Common birth defects

When babies are born with birth defects, the lives of their parents change forever, and the child may suffer for a lifetime with mild to severe disabilities. Many commonly used drugs are known to cause birth defects or at least to increase the risks of birth defects.

Contraceptives birth defects

Oral contraceptives are a popular form of birth control. They have been available since the 1960s and are well studied. There is no significant rise in the incidence of birth defects in women who took oral contraceptives before pregnancy, or in women who took oral contraceptives during early pregnancy.

Thymuskin pregnancy birth defects

Thymuskin is a popular hair loss treatment. Some hair growth products - Dutasteride and Finasteride in particular (also known as Avodart, Propecia and Proscar) - are linked to severe birth defects when taken or even handled by women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. In male babies, these medications cause deformation of the genitals. However, Thymuskin is not known to cause any particular birth defects.

Ephedra birth defects

Ephedra has been linked to stroke, heart attack, fluctuations in blood pressure, seizures and other mild side effects for the user. However, it has not been shown to cause birth defects.

Accutane birth defects

Accutane is available only by prescription and is used for the treatment of difficult acne. Women who are pregnant should not take accutane due to a high risk to the fetus. Accutane is known to cause:

  • abnormal skull development
  • underdeveloped ears
  • abnormal eye socket development
  • flattening of the nose and twisting of the mouth
  • cleft palate
  • abnormal heart development
  • brain and nervous system defects
  • absence of thymus gland, inhibiting the baby's ability to fight infection
  • premature birth
  • fetal death

There are medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, but just because a medication has not been linked to birth defects does not mean it is entirely safe. You should always consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication if you're pregnant or may become pregnant. (Some medications remain in the system for a long time and may cause birth defects even if conception occurs after they were taken.)

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