Objective: To evaluate the teratogenic effect of very large doses of nitrazepam in children born to pregnant women who attempted suicide and to check the feasibility of self-poisoning pregnant women model. Design and setting: Comparative analysis of exposed children and their unexposed sibs born to the same mothers who attempted suicide during the study pregnancy and admitted to the toxicological inpatients clinic, Budapest, 1960-1993. Study participants: Of 1044 pregnant women who attempted suicide, 107 (10.3%) used large doses of nitrazepam alone or combination with other drugs, and 43 delivered live-born babies, these exposed children were evaluated. Main outcomes measures: Structural birth defects, i.e., congenital abnormalities (CAs), pregnancy age at delivery, and birth weight. Results: The mean dose of nitrazepam used for suicide attempt was 204 mg. Of 43 exposed children, 13 (30.2%) were affected with CAs, while of their 29 sib controls, 3 (10.3%) (OR with 95%CI: 3.8, 1.0-14.6). Most CAs in exposed children were mild and belonged to the deformation type. The mean pregnancy age was shorter. Conclusions: The very large doses of nitrazepam used for suicide attempt during pregnancy resulted in a high rate of CAs which may be connected with the disruption of protein metabolism in fetal mesenchyma. The self-poisoning pregnant women model is feasible for the evaluation of teratogenic effect of drugs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)