Pediatrics Journal has published the first big American study examining learning disabilities and other special education needs with children born with opioid-related symptoms. This link is especially important to examine as many women had no idea that opioid-use could cause long-term birth defects to their children.
Opioid & Birth Defects
Birth defects can cause a child to suffer or even die while they are young. Many affect the child for their entire lives. Opioid-induced birth defects could have been prevented. If medical professionals and the pharmaceutical manufacturers informed pregnant mothers of the addictive nature and possible defects linked to opioid use, they may have sought alternative pain control options. If manufacturers told physicians of the risks, they may help expecting mothers not be addicted to opioid painkillers.
At the end of the day, it comes down to knowledge. If opioid manufacturers had taken the time to study the addictive properties of their drugs and performed studies on pregnant women to understand the safety profile and knew how long-term opioid use may affect a newborn child, expecting mothers would have more information. This information would be crucial to making informed decisions regarding the prescriptions they take.
Long-Term Mental Effects
The study published by the Pediatric Journal found that 1 in 7 affected children required special classroom services. The services addressed their developmental delays and speech or language difficulties. This is compared to 1 in 10 children not exposed to opioids.
There is also a critical need for early detection and intervention before opioid compromised children reach school age. The opioid epidemic hit Tennessee especially hard. The rate of affected infants soared from less than one per 1,000 hospital births in 1999 to 13 per 1,000 births in 2015. Therefore, researchers examined almost 7,200 children aged 3 to 8 enrolled in Tennessee’s Medicaid program. Medical records showed that nearly 2,000 had neonatal abstinence syndrome. This syndrome is a collection of withdrawal symptoms stemming from maternal opioid use during pregnancy. Opioids can pass through the placenta and into the baby’s developing nervous system. Common withdrawal symptoms include tremors, hard-to-soothe crying, diarrhea and difficulty feeding and sleep.
Filing an Opioid Lawsuit Could Protect Generations
Drug manufacturers lied to us about the addictive nature of opioids, and medical professionals prescribe them. Prescribing these drugs in high doses and for prolonged periods of time can lead to addiction and other devastating injuries. These include, among other adverse side effects, dependence, the craving to seek more drugs, use of other legal painkillers, use of other illegal drugs, and worst of all, overdose and death.
Doctors should only prescribe powerful opioid pain-killers such as fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, or methadone (drugs with common names such as Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin) for short-term, intense pain, not to treat chronic pain conditions.
America’s opioid epidemic has affected, injured, or killed tens of thousands of Americans. It’s a preventable national tragedy. Drug manufacturers of opioid pain-killers have advertised their products as being less addictive than they actually are. Drug manufacturers have sometimes alleged that these drugs are safe to treat chronic pain. This marketing has lured scores of medication users and even doctors, into a false sense of security in using and prescribing such drugs.
Therefore, if your child suffered a mental defect from maternal opioid use, contact us today. We have decades of experience going against pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers that produce unsafe products.