Opioid painkillers like OxyContin seemed to offer a medical miracle: they promised complete and lasting relief from severe pain. However, the use of OxyContin has caused a wide range of public health problems but perhaps none is sadder or more serious than the problem of birth defects. In 2011, the CDC warned that the use of OxyContin shortly before or in the early stages of pregnancy increased the risk of birth defects. In 2013, researchers found that women who took prescriptions like OxyContin, Percocet, or Vicodin early in pregnancy doubled their risk of giving birth to infants with neural tube defects like spina bifida.
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Birth defects stemming from opioid use also include heart defects such as aortic valve stenosis (AVS) and atrial septal defect (ASD). Some of these conditions can be fatal: in the first year of life, more infants die because of congenital heart defects than because of any other type of birth defect. Infants may require one or more surgeries in their first year of life to address the problems caused by OxyContin; children who survive may suffer from pain and physical limitations all their lives. Plaintiffs in several states have filed lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies that manufactured and marketed opioid painkillers, alleging that the companies failed to warn consumers of how addictive these drugs are and how much harm they can cause. Lawsuits aim to establish ongoing medical care for children who have been injured by their mothers’ prenatal use of opioids. If your child or a child that you care for has suffered from birth defects because of prenatal opioid use, GetLegal has the tools and resources to help you find skilled legal representation to protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory, look for your geographic location, and find the best lawyer for your situation.
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