Maternal use of pregabalin (Lyrica) might be associated with increased risk for birth defects in offspring, according to a small case-control study in Neurology. In the U.S., pregabalin is approved to treat numerous conditions, including neuropathic pain, seizures, and fibromyalgia.
Researchers studied roughly 160 European women exposed to pregabalin during pregnancy and 660 unexposed controls. Excluding chromosomal abnormalities, major birth defects occurred more often in the exposed versus unexposed group (6% vs. 2%), a finding that persisted in analyses limited to first-trimester exposure. In particular, central nervous system defects were more common with pregabalin exposure, but these women were also taking other medications.
The authors conclude: “Although our study raises a signal for a possible increase in the risk of [major birth defects] after pregabalin treatment during pregnancy, these results call for further confirmation … since the sample size is insufficient and differences across groups in maternal conditions and concomitant medication exposure do not allow definitive conclusions to be drawn.”