Effects of antenatal exposure to anorectic drugs

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1977 Nov 15;129(6):637-42. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(77)90645-7.


In a large prospective, observational study of pregnancy and child development, the anorectic drugs (amphetamines and phenmetrazine) prescribed to gravid women during different stages of pregnancy were evaluated for their teratogenicity. The severe congenital anomaly rate (SCA) per 100 live-born children at age five years did not differ from the SCA rate of the group of children whose mothers did not use these drugs. There was, however, an excess of oral clefts in the offspring of mothers who had amphetamines prescribed in the first 56 days from the last menstrual period. A rought test of efficacy of anorectic drugs by comparing mean weight gains in four-week periods before and after the prescription showed only short-term and limited reduction of weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology*
  • Amphetamines / adverse effects
  • Appetite Depressants / adverse effects*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cleft Palate / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects*
  • Gestational Age
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Phenmetrazine / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies


  • Amphetamines
  • Appetite Depressants
  • Phenmetrazine