New research suggests that Relafen and pregnancy may be a risky combination, because there is evidence that it may cause several serious, life-threatening, disabling birth defects, including: clubfoot, spina bifida, amniotic band syndrome, cleft lip, cleft palate, and two birth defects of the eyes that cause blindness. Taking Relafen during pregnancy may increase the risk of these birth defects, prompting researchers to warn pregnant women not to use this medication and others in its class.
Do I Have a Relafen Lawsuit? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one has had a baby with a birth defect after taking Relafen, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Relafen lawsuit.
Relafen (nabumetone) is most often prescribed to treat the symptoms of arthritis — specifically, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. These conditions are caused by an inflammation of the tissue surrounding a person’s joints. It may also occur when the tissue between the bones in a joint breaks down, and bones rub painfully against each other. Relafen belongs to a class of drugs called NSAIDs, or “Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs,” which inhibit an enzyme that is necessary for inflammation and pain. These medications do not cure the disease of arthritis, but instead treat the symptoms.
NSAIDs are some of the most widely-used medications that exist in the world. You probably have at least one in your medicine cabinet — aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen are just a few of the most common types. These medications are used to treat a wide variety of common ailments associated with pain and inflammation. Some are also used to reduce fever and reduce the chance of developing blood clots that can cause heart attacks.
Because they are so common, some women might not consider them potentially harmful to their unborn child. Doctors warn pregnant women not to take any medication without first consulting a physician. There are a wide range of chemicals that can adversely affect an unborn child — over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, herbal supplements, and dietary supplements should all be discussed with your doctor.
Relafen and Pregnancy
The link between NSAIDs and birth defects was most strongly associated when pregnant women took these medications late in pregnancy, during the third trimester. There was also a slight increase when pregnant women took these medications early during pregnancy.
The research linking Relafen during pregnancy to rare, serious birth defects was announced in December 2011. The following birth defects were associated:
- Spina Bifida, perhaps the most severe birth defect associated with the maternal use of NSAIDs, was 60% more likely to occur. This birth defect happens when the neural tube fails to close early during fetal development, resulting in the baby’s spinal cord being exposed to amniotic fluid in the womb through a hole at the base of the child’s skull. This causes nerve damage. Spina bifida is often associated with permanent, disabling paralysis.
- Amniotic Band Syndrome occurs when bands of the amniotic sac separate, entangling a developing child. This syndrome itself is not a birth defect, but rather a complication of pregnancy that can cause birth defects. If the bands entangle the child, they can cause strangulation, amputation of limbs, and death.
- Eye Defects that cause Blindness: These two defects associated with Relafen and NSAIDs are very rare. “Anophthalmia” occurs when the baby is born without eyes. “Microphthalmia” occurs when the baby’s eyes are very small. Both result in permanent blindness.
- Cleft Lip and/or Cleft Palate can occur alone or in conjunction with one another. They may be minor, requiring no treatment, or severe and require several reconstructive surgeries. In the worst cases of cleft lip, the baby’s upper lip is almost nonexistent. In the worst cases of cleft palate, the roof of the baby’s mouth is widely separated, and the baby has severe difficulty breathing, swallowing, sucking, and eating, and requires supplemental nutrition because it cannot eat enough through breastfeeding alone.
- Clubfoot may affect one foot or both feet, and occurs when the foot is turned sharply inward at the ankle. The foot may be twisted until it is nearly upside-down. If untreated, clubfoot can severely impair the child’s ability to walk later in life, so nearly all babies with this condition undergo treatment. Surgical treatment may be an option. Gradually stretching the foot into position using bands and casts may be a less-invasive option, though significantly more parental care is necessary.
The researchers studying Relafen, NSAIDs, and birth defects took information from 15,000 women whose babies had birth defects. Then, the information collected in these cases was compared to information on 5,500 women whose babies had no birth defects. The study looked for associations between maternal use of medications and 29 different birth defects. Most birth defects were not associated. However, a few were, and these were quite serious.
The researchers warn pregnant women to consider the possible effect of NSAIDs on their unborn child. Though the risk is still very small, and more research needs to be conducted to buttress the conclusions, pregnant women may still want to avoid these medications and choose safer alternatives.
Do I have a Relafen Lawsuit?
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