Opioids linked to rise in abdominal birth defects

Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should be advised to avoid the drug, says expert

Women planning or expecting a baby should be warned of the dangers of taking opioids, a specialist says in the wake of a study linking the agents to a rise in gastroschisis.

Pregnancy

Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have linked birth defect surveillance data from 20 US states with opioid prescriptions data, showing the prevalence of gastroschisis is higher where the script rate is higher than 82.4 per 100 persons per year.

Comparing two five-year periods (2006-10 and 2011-15), they found a 10% rise in cases of gastroschisis in the

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