Traditional Chinese Medicine Increases Risk for Congenital Malformations

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Significant associations seen particularly for congenital heart defects.

HealthDay News — In utero exposure to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is associated with an increased risk for congenital malformations, according to a study published online April 19 in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

Ting Peng, from Fudan University in Shanghai, and colleagues compared the prevalence of congenital malformations between 16,751 pregnant women with and without TCM exposure.

The researchers found that fetuses exposed to TCM had an increased risk for congenital malformations vs those without exposure (odds ratio [OR], 2.10; 95% CI, 1.09 to 4.02) in an adjusted analysis. Specifically, congenital malformations were more common in women with early pregnancy exposure (OR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.00 to 4.20) and for women who received 2 or more TCM formulas (OR, 5.84; 95% CI, 1.44 to 23.65). For congenital heart defects, prepregnancy TCM exposure was significantly associated with an increased risk (OR, 12.69; 95% CI, 3.01 to 53.51).

“To improve traditional Chinese medicine, we should pay more attention to its hazards, especially the identification of teratogenic ingredients, while also evaluating its therapeutic effects,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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