birth defects

Blood-Pressure Drugs Linked to Birth Defects (press release)

Friday, July 28, 2006 by: NaturalNews
Tags: health news, Natural News, nutrition

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
Blood-pressure medications known as ACE inhibitors can't be considered safe to take even in the first trimester of pregnancy and should be avoided altogether by pregnant women, a new study suggests.

For years, doctors have known these commonly prescribed blood-pressure drugs aren't safe during the second and third trimesters due to their association with birth defects. So, physicians have routinely switched women to other medications once they find out they were pregnant. An estimated 5 percent to 8 percent of women develop high blood pressure, or hypertension, during pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes.

But the new study suggests the wisest course is to avoid ACE inhibitor (angiotensin-converting enzyme) drugs during the entire pregnancy.

"We found there was a three-fold increased [overall] risk of birth defects to infants whose mothers took ACE inhibitors the first trimester, compared to infants whose mothers took no blood-pressure medication," said study lead author Dr. William O. Cooper, associate professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

The study findings appear in the June 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study results prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to hold a news briefing Tuesday afternoon. Additional research is needed before any assessment of ACE inhibitor use in early pregnancy can be made, said Drs. Robert Temple, associate director for medical policy, and Sandra L. Kweder, deputy director of the Office of New Drugs at the Center for Evaluation and Research.

"If women are thinking about becoming pregnant, they should talk to their doctors" about the most appropriate blood-pressure medication, Temple said.

The study found the risk of cardiovascular defects was nearly four times higher in children of women who took ACE inhibitors, compared with children of women who didn't take any blood-pressure medicine. In addition, central nervous system birth defects were four times higher among the children of women who took ACE inhibitors.

Fetal exposure to other blood-pressure medications during the first trimester did not produce an increased risk of birth defects, the study found.

Cooper and his colleagues studied 29,507 infants, all enrolled in Tennessee Medicaid and born between 1985 and 2000. The researchers identified 209 babies exposed to ACE inhibitors during the first trimester only; 202 exposed to other types of blood-pressure-lowering medicine during the first trimester alone; and 29,096 infants with no exposure to blood-pressure drugs during at any time during the pregnancy. Then, the researchers identified major birth defects from hospitalization claims and vital records during the first year of life.

"We adjusted for other factors known to be associated with birth defects, such as diabetes," Cooper said.

Major birth defects were found in 856 babies, or 2.9 percent; 203 had more than one defect. Problems included cardiovascular defects; musculoskeletal defects such as upper limb difficulties; gastrointestinal problems; central nervous system defects such as spina bifida; and urologic defects.

It's not known how ACE inhibitors increase the risk of birth defects, Cooper said. "ACE inhibitors inhibit an enzyme, that is how they affect blood pressure. This same enzyme is present in the fetal heart, kidney and brain during the time the organs are being formed. Interfering with that angiotensin enzyme function during the period of organ formation could interfere with the proper formation of organs," he said.

In an accompanying editorial in the journal, Dr. Jan Friedman of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, discussed the relative lack of information on potential problems caused by ACE inhibitor use early in pregnancy. Animal studies have not found an increased risk of birth defects, but he added that "there actually has been very little information available to answer this question."

Friedman said more research is needed. Of the Cooper study, he said, "This is not the last word on the subject, but it is shocking to realize, it is almost the first."

Friedman also noted the difficulty of determining a risk-benefit profile for a mother and fetus when prescribing a drug for a pregnant patient. The risks to an unborn baby are unknown for more than 90 percent of the prescription drugs approved in the United States between 1980 and 2000, he said, citing a 2002 report in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"Women of childbearing age put on an ACE inhibitor should discuss [with their doctor] the possibility that these drugs can cause birth defects if they become pregnant," he said.

Each year in the United States, an estimated 120,000 babies are born with birth defects, such as cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, heart defects, cleft lip and palate, and other problems. While both genetic and environmental factors, or a combination of the two, can lead to defects, the cause of about 70 percent is unknown, according to the March of Dimes.

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

The five biggest lies about Ebola being pushed by government and mass media
White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public
Why does the CDC own a patent on Ebola 'invention?'
Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn't every hospital have one of these?
EXCLUSIVE: Natural News tests flu vaccine for heavy metals, finds 25,000 times higher mercury level than EPA limit for water
Irrefutable proof we are all being sprayed with poison: 571 tons of toxic lead 'chemtrailed' into America's skies every year
Truvia sweetener a powerful pesticide; scientists shocked as fruit flies die in less than a week from eating GMO-derived erythritol
Russia taking McDonald's to court, threatens countrywide shutdown
Oregon man serving prison sentence for collecting rainwater on his own property
Senator who attacked Doctor Oz over dietary supplements received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma mega-retailer and Monsanto
Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions
Healthy 12-year-old girl dies shortly after receiving HPV vaccine

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.