Mothers who take Wellbutrin or Zyban may increase their child’s risk for heart defects

The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology recently released a study about maternal use of the drug buproprion and the potential risk of infant heart defects.

The researchers used data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, a population based study that used cases and controls. Their goal was to determine whether a mother’s exposure to bupropion during the early stages of pregnancy is directly associated with congenital heart defects in her child.

Exposure was defined as any reported use of the medications between one month prior to conception, and up to three months after conception. The researchers used data from infants born between 1997 and 2004. Control infants were randomly selected from the same geographical populations as the case infants, using hospital records, and they had no major birth defects.

A total of 12,383 case infants and 5,869 control infants were analyzed. Of the cases, ten infants with left outflow tract defects had mothers who reported to the study that they took bupropion early in pregnancy. None of these children had any family history of congenital heart defects. No significant association was made between bupropion and other types of heart and birth defects.

The AJOG concludes that there is a doubling in risk for left outflow tract defects among infants of women who took buproprion during their first trimester, although the absolute risk is small, and the findings are not conclusive.