Lyrica, a widely prescribed pain medication that is heavily advertised on television may
be associated with a higher risk of major birth defects. The journal Neurology reported
on the study online on May 18, 2016. The study involved 164 women who took Lyrica
during their first trimester of pregnancy. These women were compared to a group of
656 pregnant women who did not take Lyrica.
Lyrica (pregabalin) is approved for treatment of seizures, neuropathic pain and
fibromyalgia. However it is also prescribed “off label” for psychiatric disorders including
depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis.
Women taking Lyrica were found to be six times more likely to have a baby with a major
defect in the central nervous system than women not taking the drug and three times
more likely to have a baby with other major defects. The FDA currently classifies the
drug as pregnancy category C which means that teratogenic effects have been seen in
animal studies but there are no adequate and well controlled studies in pregnant
women. It is unknown if the FDA will revise the label based on this study.