Approved to treat: Severe pain
Drug category: Opiate analgesic
Year approved: 1995, reformulation approved in 2010
Manufacturer: Purdue Pharma
Women who use opioid painkillers such as oxycodone during the first trimester of pregnancy face a doubled risk for giving birth to babies with serious and life-threatening birth defects including:
- Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) – doubled risk
- Ventricular Septal Defects
- Atrial Septal Defects
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Right Ventricular Outflow Tract Obstructions including Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
- Gastroschisis (herniation of the abdominal wall)
- Glaucoma (blocked eye fluid that increases pressure)
- Hydrocephaly (buildup of fluid inside the skull leading to brain swelling).
- Spina Bifida (neural tube defects)
Studies Find Link Between Opioid Medication Exposure and Birth Defects
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified Oxycodone as a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that there have been multiple studies to show a possible correlation between oxycodone use during pregnancy and birth defects.
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who take opioid painkillers such as oxycodone before or early on in their pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with HLHS, a life-threatening congenital heart defect where the left side of the heart is extremely underdeveloped. Women should be warned of these dangerous and potentially fatal side effects before becoming pregnant. Unfortunately, the manufacturers of SSRI anti-depressants are not currently required to warn users of these increased risks and, as a terrible result, babies continue to be harmed.