Opioid birth heart defects, America’s epidemic spreads to babies.
Across America, deep in the middle of the opioid crisis there are many unheard victims. They didn’t ask to be born addicted, and now these babies face untold health problems.
Our law firm and attorneys are now ready to help file opioid birth defect claims; there may be large cash awards from settlements for mothers who have had babies born with life devastating heart defects.
Let’s examine what is happening currently in America and what is happening to these babies.
What are the Heart Birth Defects from Opioids?
It’s a fact that taking any form of opioid whether its prescription codeine, hydrocodone or other opioid containing painkillers before or in the early stages of pregnancy increases the risk of many different types of heart defects.
It’s been estimated that around 4 million babies are born in the U.S. yearly, of those it’s estimated that 3% suffer from major birth defects. Studies by the CDC list congenital heart defects as the number one defect.
One disturbing fact from the CDC is the overall lack of studies done on the link between opioid use and congenital heart defects in newborns. One of the heart problems is called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and although rare, if a mother has been exposed to opioid use while pregnant, the risk is more than doubled for this condition.
Cheryl S. Broussard, PhD, of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities states: “With very serious and life threatening birth defects like hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the prevention of even a small number of cases is very important”
Part of the problem with the study is that it left out numbers of the illicit opioid use of mothers. Since we know that America is suffering from the worst opioid epidemic in our history – it’s safe to say that countless mothers are having babies born with heart problems.
“The effects of opioid use on the developing fetus during pregnancy are poorly understood,” the researchers write.
Other heart defects from opioid use in babies may include:
- Pulmonary atresia (PA) a condition where a baby’s heart valve doesn’t form properly and affects blood flow from the heart to the lungs.
- Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) this condition prevents enough blood from reaching the lungs so the blood may not carry enough oxygen.
- Tricuspid atresia (TA) this where the tricuspid valve is missing or doesn’t develop normally.
Other problems opioids may cause a baby:
Not only are heart defects a major concern for mothers who have exposed their babies to opioids, whether intentional or not, these conditions could also happen:
- Spina bifida
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Fetal growth restrictions
- Neonatal abstinence syndrome
Mothers ask: Should I stop taking opioids during my pregnancy?
The short answer is no. Please contact your doctor if you have read this article and thinking about discontinuing any opioid use, even from prescriptions, as this can endanger both you and your baby. The March of Dimes information on this subject lists possible problems in going “cold turkey”, these are:
- Placental abruptions, a condition where the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus.
- Growth problems
- Preterm labor or premature birth
Moms also ask: Can I breastfeed if on opioids?
Again we turn to The March of Dimes website for information on this subject, they state:
If you’re using prescription opioids for pain relief with your provider’s supervision, you can breastfeed depending on the medicine you take. Some opioids can cause life-threatening problems for your baby. Make sure the provider who prescribes you the opioid knows you’re breastfeeding, and take the medicine exactly as our provider tells you to. Talk to your provider about switching to a safer pain reliever if you take:
- Codeine or medicines that contain codeine
For more information visit the March of Dimes website on opioid use here: https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/prescription-opioids-during-pregnancy.aspx
Opioid Use and Risk for Birth Defects – Study by the CDC.
In research and writing about the opioid use and risks for birth defects we turn to both the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the CDC for information.
The CDC alone has over 650 different results for the search terms “Opioid Birth Defects” this is a startling amount of information to absorb. Please visit the link below to read the full articles.
What can I do if I’ve had a baby born with heart defects from Opioids?
If you are a mother who has had a baby born with any heart defect or other birth defect attributed to any opioid drug from prescription use, you have legal rights to a file an opioid birth defect lawsuit claim against those responsible.
The opioid birth defects lawyers and attorneys at Hood National Law Group are now investigating all opioid birth lawsuit claims. There could be substantial cash claims from settlements in these lawsuits.
Who’s responsible for the opioid crisis, doctors or opioid makers?
Most well known and powerful pharmaceutical companies have known track records of spending more money marketing to doctors than on drug research. Pharmaceutical companies pay doctors in the form of meals, speaking gigs, literature, travel and more, and have been doing so for years. Until recently, however, it remained unclear just how much “Big Pharma” was spending and which doctors were accepting its contributions.
Side story – Read more on the money spent on marketing to doctors here: https://www.nationalinjuryhelp.com/dangerous-drugs/doctors-big-pharma-money/
It’s because of this big money marketing to doctors, combined with the drop in heroin prices that led many down the road to addiction. What started as a real medical need to manage pain ends up creating a nation of addict’s.
Babies and Newborns affected by the Opioid Epidemic have Neonatal abstinence syndrome.
This issue has become a public health epidemic with devastating consequences including not just increases in opioid use disorders and related fatalities from overdoses, but also the rising incidence of newborns who experience neonatal abstinence syndrome because their mothers used these substances during pregnancy; and the increased spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C (HCV), as was seen in 2015 in southern Indiana.
Who is affected by the opioid epidemic?
This is an epidemic that touches many people across America, mostly in three areas: The Appalachia, the rust belt and New England areas.
The age groups most in danger from the opioid epidemic are young adults in their 20s and early 30s. These are young people ready to start families and because of the addictions many will have babies born addicted to opioids.
New evidence and studies show that the opioid epidemic is splitting into two segments, the younger drug users growing addicted to, and overdosing from, heroin or fentanyl rather than prescription pills.
“About 150 Americans are going to die today, just today, while we’re meeting,” U.S. District Judge Dan Polster of Cleveland, Ohio, said earlier this month. “And in my humble opinion, everyone shares some of the responsibility, and no one has done enough to abate it.”
Opioid Reports from the National Institute of Drug Abuse
“The misuse of, and addiction to opioids such as heroin and prescription pain medicines is a serious national problem that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.
An estimated 1.9 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain medicines in 2014, and 586,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder.
Opioid Birth Defects Lawsuit Claims & Settlements | Painkillers Heart Defects in Baby page updated on September 7, 2018.