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Despite Potential Risk of Serious Birth Defects, New Study Finds Poor Adherence to Oral Contraception among Women on Category X Medications
Date:10/21/2010

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- An important new study finds that despite the potential risk of serious birth defects associated with the use of medications labeled "Category X" by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 40 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 44 using a Category X medication along with an oral contraceptive (OC) do not use their OC properly, increasing the likelihood of an unintended pregnancy.  The study, conducted by the Medco Research Institute™, is published in the October issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

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"The risk of developmental toxicity and birth defects among women using a Category X medication is important, and what we discovered through this analysis is that women may not be aware of these risks with Category X medications or they may not understand that to be effective, OCs must be taken on a nearly perfect, consistent basis," said Amy Steinkellner, lead author of the study and National Practice Leader for the Medco Women's Health Therapeutic Resource Center® (TRC).  

Some of the more widely used Category X drugs in women of childbearing age include sedatives and sleep aids, skin treatments known as retinoids, and statins to treat high cholesterol.  The FDA warns against the use of Category X medications in women who are, or may become, pregnant because studies have demonstrated fetal abnormalities associated with use of these drugs.  

Because of the risks, women of childbearing age who are taking a Category X medication should consider using contraception, or discuss an alternative therapy with their physician.  Women who choose to use oral contraception -- one of the most convenient and effective forms of contraception -- need to take the medication precisely as directed, every day, at the same time ea
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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