Context: Opioid use and abuse have increased dramatically in recent years, particularly among women. ObjectiveS: We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the association between prenatal opioid use and congenital malformations. Data Sources: We searched Medline and Embase for studies published from 1946 to 2016 and reviewed reference lists to identify additional relevant studies. Study Selection: We included studies that were full-text journal articles and reported the results of original epidemiologic research on prenatal opioid exposure and congenital malformations. We assessed study eligibility in multiple phases using a standardized, duplicate review process. Data Extraction: Data on study characteristics, opioid exposure, timing of exposure during pregnancy, congenital malformations (collectively or as individual subtypes), length of follow-up, and main findings were extracted from eligible studies. Results: Of the 68 studies that met our inclusion criteria, 46 had an unexposed comparison group; of those, 30 performed statistical tests to measure associations between maternal opioid use during pregnancy and congenital malformations. Seventeen of these (10 of 12 case-control and 7 of 18 cohort studies) documented statistically significant positive associations. Among the case-control studies, associations with oral clefts and ventricular septal defects/atrial septal defects were the most frequently reported specific malformations. Among the cohort studies, clubfoot was the most frequently reported specific malformation. Limitations: Variabilities in study design, poor study quality, and weaknesses with outcome and exposure measurement. Conclusions: Uncertainty remains regarding the teratogenicity of opioids; a careful assessment of risks and benefits is warranted when considering opioid treatment for women of reproductive age.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health