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Do Acne Medications Cause Birth Defects?

Written by Berkowitz

Baby and Parent's HandsDuring most pregnancies, women will hear that they are “glowing.” Thanks to the heightened hormones, blood flow, and a few unknowns, pregnancy brings on a youthful, clear skin complexion for some. However, there are some pregnant women who will suffer from the opposite – including teenager-like acne spells that are increased by the androgen hormones present during pregnancy. For some, this acne could be trivial, but for others, it could become so severe that the expectant mother may wonder if there is a safe acne medication to take while pregnant.

Unfortunately, most acne medications are not safe during pregnancy – especially those that are prescribed. Over-the-counter treatments could be safer, but you should still consult your OB/GYN before taking any medication while pregnant.

Known Birth Defects Associated with Accutane

Accutane was a popular medication given to those suffering from acne, as well as pregnancy-induced acne. It was a powerful anti-acne treatment that delivered exceptional results – but unfortunately, it was later discovered to put pregnant women at higher risk for birth defects. Some research suggests that the warning labels provided by the manufacturers of Accutane were not as clear as they should be – which is why they have experienced a multitude of lawsuits.

Accutane, more commonly known as isotretinoin, is thought to cause a multitude of birth defects, including:

  • Heart deformities
  • Brain damage
  • Face deformities

Because of this known fact, women are required to stop taking Accutane if they become pregnant. Also, women who are of childbearing age are required to take pregnancy tests prior to starting, and throughout, their Accutane regimen to ensure that they do not become pregnant while taking the medication. Some physicians will require their patients to use two forms of birth control just to ensure no pregnancy occurs.

Accutane defects continued to occur even after the manufacturer released warning labels. That is because the information on the package about risks of taking the drug while pregnant were unclear. And, the manufacturer did not make it clear to women that they should use multiple forms of birth control while taking Accutane. This is because the manufacturer used a symbol rather than outright stating the information on the package – and it was estimated that only a fifth of women taking Accutane actually interpreted the symbol correctly.

Are There Safer Acne Medications?

It is best if you can avoid all medications while pregnant unless they are necessary. Then, you should speak with your physician to see what medications are recommended. In most cases, your physician may prescribe a Category A or Category B drug – which are known to not be associated with defects or highly unlikely to cause a defect.

What if Your Baby Suffers from a Birth Defect Because of a Medication?

If your child was born with a heart, face or other defect due to a medication that you took while pregnant, you may be entitled to compensation. If the drug manufacturer fails to notify their consumers about known side-effects, or knowingly sells a drug that could lead to birth defects, they are liable for injuries, pain and suffering, and even death. Consult with a medical malpractice attorney today to explore your options.

Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule your no-obligation consultation. Call us at 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.