Pregabalin linked to major birth defects

Exposure to pregabalin during pregnancy associated with three-fold increase of non-chromosomal birth defects.

Ultrasound of baby during the first trimester

Animal studies have suggested that pregabalin may have toxic effects in utero. The drug is regularly used for pain, anxiety and also seizures, but there is limited information on its effects on human pregnancy. 

A team of European researchers studied data from eight Teratology Information Services from seven countries. They compared 164 women exposed to pregabalin during pregnancy with 656 matched controls. 

Exposure during the first trimester was associated with a three-fold increase in the odds of a non-chromosomal major birth defect (6.0% vs 2.1%). In particular, central nervous system malformations were higher in the pregabalin-exposed group. 

Reporting in Neurology (online, 18 May 2016)[1]
, the researchers say that they cannot draw firm conclusions because many women were also taking other medications and the results have to be confirmed by other studies. However, they caution that pregabalin should be avoided in pregnancy.


[1] Winterfeld U, Merlob P, Baud D et al. Pregnancy outcome following maternal exposure to pregabalin may call for concern. Neurology 2016. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002767

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, June 2016, Vol 8, No 6;8(6):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201168

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