Drug exposure in pregnancy and heart defects

J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2011 Jul;58(1):20-4. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0b013e31821c471b.


Being the most common group of congenital malformations, congenital heart defects have often been investigated to rule out teratogenic effects by medicinal drugs and chemicals. Yet, the use of rigorous epidemiological methods has rejected such claims in many cases. We critically evaluate drugs believed to be associated with an increased risk of causing congenital heart defects, highlighting the debate and the practical implications of such associations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / diagnosis
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Folic Acid Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / chemically induced*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Lithium / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / diagnosis
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*


  • Folic Acid Antagonists
  • Lithium