A look at some drugs under increased scrutiny amid abortion bans

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Since abortion bans came into effect in many states, the drugs that can be used to terminate pregnancies have come under increasing scrutiny. have other common uses, as well as medication for conditions unrelated to pregnancy that are known to harm the developing fetus.

The list of drugs that can cause birth defects is long, including certain antibiotics like Cipro, mood stabilizers including lithium, and several drugs to control arthritis, epilepsy, and even acne.

Methotrexate, sold under brand names such as Xatmep and Trexall: The drug, which slows cell growth and inhibits inflammation, is used to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and certain breast, lung, head and neck and blood cancers. It can also be used to treat autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Methotrexate is given by injection to terminate ectopic pregnancies by stopping the growth of fetal cells. The tissue is then reabsorbed.

Mifepristone, sold as Korlym or Mifeprex can be used to control high blood sugar in patients with Cushing’s syndrome who also have type 2 diabetes. The drug also dilates the cervix and blocks the effects of progesterone, which is needed to maintain a pregnancy . It can be given in pill form, along with misoprostol, for medical abortions during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy or for end a miscarriage.

Misoprostol or Cytotec, can be used to prevent stomach ulcers caused by anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. During pregnancy, it can be used to induce labor and prevent postpartum hemorrhage. The drug is given in pill form along with mifepristone to supplement miscarriages and for medication abortions. It can also be used to soften and open cervix before surgical abortion.

Anticonvulsants: Several medications used to prevent seizures such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and carbamazepine (Tegretol) are associated with an increased risk of physical birth defects in a baby. Some medicines for epilepsy can also affect the baby’s growth or development.

Isotretinoin, better known as Accutane, belongs to a class of vitamin A dermatological drugs known as retinoids and is used to treat severe cystic or nodular acne by decreasing the production of oily sebum on the skin. People who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant are advised not to handle the drug, which can be absorbed through the skin and lungs, or inhale its dust, due to the serious risk to the developing foetus. However, the prescription system for the drug is already heavily regulated, including a requirement for patients to have negative pregnancy tests before they can get prescriptions.

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