A research group in California investigated the safety of β-blockers during pregnancy and found that there was no association between β-blocker use during pregnancy and risk of congenital cardiac anomalies in the fetus.
β-blockers are the most commonly prescribed drugs for heart conditions during pregnancy. It has been shown that β-blockers cross the placenta and exposure has been shown to cause bradycardia and hypoglycemia in newborns. Furthermore, research suggested that β-blockers may cause fetal congenital heart malformations.
The authors published their findings on the β-blockers and the risk of fetal cardiac malformations in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. Between 2003 and 2014, 379238 pregnancies were followed, of which 4847 pregnant women were exposed to β-blockers. Women who used β-blockers were generally older, had higher BMI and were more likely to be diagnosed with hypertension, preeclampsia, eclampsia, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, heart failure, and arrhythmia. In an unadjusted analysis, the use of β-blockers significantly increased the risk of fetal congenital anomalies. However, after adjusting for maternal age, BMI and comorbidities, there was no longer a significant association.
In conclusion, the study suggests that using β-blockers during pregnancy is safe and does not increase the risk of a congenital heart disease in the fetus.
Written By: Dr. Fanni R.Eros