How do we know prescription drugs are safe?

               Unfortunately for some pregnant moms, the effects of prescription or non prescription drugs on their unborn child are realized too late. Sometimes, through no fault of their own, these mothers purchase or are prescribed a medication that was claimed to be safe and later found to be harmful or even deadly to an unborn child. Our book discusses two such drugs, thalidomide and diethylstilbestrol both of which, for a time, where commonly found and easily excisable. During further research I found that thalidomide was released in 1957 in Germany and quickly became a popular sedative, almost matching the sales of aspirin in 1960. At one point it was even prescribed to help pregnant women with morning sickness. Shortly after its boom in 47 countries, thalidomide was found to cause severe birth defects including but not limited to shortened or missing limbs, damage to the heart and other vital organs and developmental issues.

                Diethylstilbestrol was first used to prevent miscarriages between 1938 and 1971. In 1971 the FDA found that the daughters of women who were given diethylstilbestrol were at higher risk for “clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina and cervix… structural reproductive tract anomalies, an increased infertility rate, and poor pregnancy outcomes” (www.aafp.org/afp/20040515/2395.html). Sons of these same women are more at risk for prostate and testicular cancer.

                So, the question I raise is, is any drug 100% safe and how do we know for sure? Like diethylstilbestrol, some effects aren’t known for years.  I am not sure what the answer is, but it seems as though women should try and avoid drugs, prescribed or not, while pregnant.

 -Melissa Broderick

http://scienceinsociety.northwestern.edu/content/articles/2009/research-digest/thalidomide/title-tba

http://www.aafp.org/afp/20040515/2395.html

Advertisements

~ by Melissa Broderick on September 3, 2009.

One Response to “How do we know prescription drugs are safe?”

  1. I throughly enjoyed reading your post. To answer the question you asked in your last paragraph, I agree that no drug is 100% safe to use during pregnancy and that women who are pregnant should abstain from any medication unless instructed to do otherwise by their health care physician.

    – Ashley Crawford

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: