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Bad News for Pregnant Women Diagnosed with Grave's Disease

Women with Grave’s disease are forced to contend with many issues when the condition is left untreated. The overproduction of thyroid hormones can cause serious problems with anxiety, hot flashes, double vision, weight loss, change in menstrual cycles, reduced libido, and irregular heartbeat, among other concerning effects. It is often difficult for these women to carry and birth children. Preeclampsia, poor fetal growth, and miscarriage are just a few of the potential problems that can arise. And, now, to make matters worse, the medications frequently prescribed for the treatment of the condition have been linked to very serious birth defects.

There are two drugs regularly used in the treatment of Grave’s disease – methimazole and propylthiouracil (PTU). The first has been suspected of causing birth defects for quite some time. Defects caused by Methimazole included blockage of the nasal passage, blockage of the esophagus, poor skin growth, umbilical cord defects, and , esophageal atresia, aplasia cutis, umbilical cord defects, and internal organs remaining outside the body. For obvious reasons, doctors and patients have wanted to avoid such complications. However, the alternative, PTU, is known to be associated with liver damage and, some studies now suggest, could also be associated with birth defects.

Doctors are not yet sure what the best course of action is for these women. Currently, recommendations state that a women should be switched to PTU during the first trimester – when the fetus is most susceptible – and then placed back on methimazole in the second trimester, in order to reduce the potential damage done to the patient’s liver.

Women who have suffered as a result of these medications – either through the loss of their newborn children or damage done to their own bodies – do have the right to contact a personal injury attorney and to seek financial compensation from the manufacturers. It is obviously clear that better solutions are needed, in order to keep women and their children safe throughout the pregnancy and beyond.

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