Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Medications That Block Folic Acid In Pregnancy Double Risk Of Congenital Malformations In Fetus

Date:
October 14, 2009
Source:
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Summary:
Pregnant women are advised to take vitamin supplements containing folic acid as part of their routine prenatal care. Now, a new study warns that taking medications that reduce or block the actions of folic acid during the first trimester of pregnancy increase the risk that the growing baby will develop abnormalities.

Pregnant women are advised to take vitamin supplements containing folic acid as part of their routine pre-natal care. Now, a new study warns that taking medications that reduce or block the actions of folic acid during the first trimester of pregnancy increase the risk that the growing baby will develop abnormalities. The large collaborative cohort study was conducted by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

This conclusion just published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology was reached by a team of epidemiologists, pediatricians, clinical pharmacologists, obstetricians and gynecologists who examined birth and abortion data collected in Israel between 1998 and 2007.

The study obtained medication data from pregnant mothers registered at Clalit HMO, Southern District, and drew information from 84,832 babies born at Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, Israel. It was carried out as part of the Ph.D. dissertation of Ilan Matok, and supervised by principal investigators Dr. Amalia Levy and Prof. Rafael Gorodischer from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, in collaboration with Prof. Gideon Koren from the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada (the BeMORE collaboration).

"After studying the data, we concluded that first trimester exposure to folic acid antagonists is associated with increased risk for neural tube, cardiovascular and urinary tract defects," according to the pediatrician and clinical pharmacologist, principal investigator Dr. Rafael Gorodischer, professor emeritus at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Healthcare professionals now encourage women to take folic acid supplements or eat food fortified with folic acid if they are planning to get pregnant, as well as during early pregnancy because there is clear evidence that this reduces the risk of any resulting baby having neural tube defects and possibly other birth defects (congenital malformations).

The team considered the effects of two groups of medications on pregnancy. Each group consists of drugs that prevent folic acid working in the body. One group (dihydrofolate reductase inhibitors) prevents folate from being converted into its active metabolites and includes trimethoprim (antibiotic), sulfasalazine (for ulcerative colitis) and methotrexate (chemotherapeutic). The other medications are known to lower serum and tissue concentrations of folate by various mechanisms, and include antiepileptics (carbamazepine, phenytoin, lamotrigine, primidone, valproic acid and phenobarbital) and cholestyramine (reduces cholesterol).

"The study shows that exposure to folic acid antagonists in the first trimester of pregnancy more than doubles the risk of congenital malformations in the fetus, and that neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and malformations of the brain, increase by more than six-fold after exposure to these antagonists," said Dr. Amalia Levy, an epidemiologist with the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences and chair of the BeMORE collaboration.

"Clinicians should try to avoid the use of these drugs whenever possible in women contemplating pregnancy," concluded Gorodischer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. I. Matok, R. Gorodischer, G. Koren, D. Landau, A. Wiznitzer, and A. Levy. Exposure To Folic Acid Antagonists During The First Trimester of Pregnancy and the Risk of Major Malformations. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2125.2009.03544.x

Cite This Page:

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "Medications That Block Folic Acid In Pregnancy Double Risk Of Congenital Malformations In Fetus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091013201751.htm>.
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. (2009, October 14). Medications That Block Folic Acid In Pregnancy Double Risk Of Congenital Malformations In Fetus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091013201751.htm
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "Medications That Block Folic Acid In Pregnancy Double Risk Of Congenital Malformations In Fetus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091013201751.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins