Objective(s): Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) have the potential to affect fetal development throughout pregnancy. Considering the broad therapeutic indications of pregabalin (PGB), its potential teratogenic effects and the levels of homocysteine have been studied.
Materials and methods: Timed-pregnant mice received one of three doses of PGB (20, 40 or 80 mg/kg/day) or the vehicle control during organogenesis, intraperitoneally. The litters were stained and examined for malformations. Total homocysteine (tHcy) was measured in serum from the pregnant mice on GD18.
Results: The rate of fetus malformations increased significantly in all treated groups as compared to the control group. The abnormalities included limb, vertebral column and craniofacial abnormalities. The most common abnormality was limb deformity. The percentage of fetal resorption significantly increased at higher doses. There was no significant difference in tHcy concentrations between the treated and control groups.
Conclusion: Pregabalin may have potential teratogenic effects even in lower doses, however with less intensity than other AEDs. Therefore, it is suggested that great caution should be taken when prescribing it in pregnancy and further investigation for possible mechaninsms.
Keywords: Antiepileptic drugs; Developmental toxicity; Homocysteine; Teratogenicity.