For years ACE inhibitors, used to treat high blood pressure, have been known to cause birth defects if taken during the last six months of pregnancy. But a new study has found ACE inhibitors pose risks to a fetus even during the first trimester.
The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found infants whose mothers took ACE inhibitors during their first trimester were three times more likely than unexposed infants to be born with a birth defect. The birth defects ranged from spinal deformations to holes in their hearts. ACE inhibitors are used to control high blood pressure which can cause kidney damage and toxemia in pregnant mothers and low birth weight in the babies.
ACE inhibitors include:
The FDA plans to release a public health advisory, but has no intentions of changing the black-box warning, which only warns of birth defects in the second and third trimesters.