Infant drug overdose can cause birth defects, new research has shown.
The new study of a US study found that babies born to mothers who had taken a drug containing morphine, oxycodone and morphine-naloxone had birth defects in the same regions that they were born.
The study, published in the journal The Lancet, looked at a cluster of births in California between 1991 and 2005.
Researchers looked at the babies born between January and February, as well as babies born in the first three months of the following year.
The researchers said there were three groups of babies: those born in California, those born elsewhere and those born from birth in the United States.
It found that there was a cluster with a higher risk of birth defects than those born overseas.
The risk of having a birth defect was higher in the US than in any other country in the study.
“We have found that the risk of a birth defects is higher in children who were born in an area where there was an increased risk of the drug-related death and neonatal mortality,” said lead researcher Dr James Breen.
The researchers said that babies who were exposed to drugs such as morphine-and-naltrexone or oxycodones and morphine or oxytocin at birth had an increased chance of developing birth defects compared to those born before the babies were born, as the drug exposure was not as intense.
“It’s a very clear message that when an infant is exposed to a drug that causes a significant risk of an adverse birth outcome, there’s a higher chance that it will lead to a birth outcome that’s not normal,” Dr Breen said.
“In the US, it is a clear public health threat that’s happening to more babies.”
Dr Breen added that there were also differences in the way the drugs affected the brain.
“Some of the medications were associated with problems with language development, attention, language skills, social interaction, emotional development, cognition,” Dr Aimee C. Farr, who co-authored the study, said.
“There was some evidence that some of the drugs did not have that effect.”
Dr Farr said that while the drugs were not linked to the birth defects they were associated to higher risks of the birth of smaller babies.
“There’s an argument that we have more babies who are going to be born with birth defects and it’s more than just a few drugs that are associated with these problems,” she said.
Dr Brennan said that in a future study, it might be possible to do a more thorough study to see if the risk was due to the drugs, rather than the mother’s medication.
“That would be an important step, and the study we have now is a small one,” he said.