Teratogenic Effects of Benzodiazepine Use during Pregnancy
Eight children exposed in utero to benzodiazepines had characteristic dysmorphic features, growth aberrations, and central nervous system abnormalities from birth. Their dysmorphic characteristics resembled those of the fetal alcohol syndrome, although they had greater focal involvement of cranial nerves, with a sullen and expressionless face, and they more often had impairment of vitality at birth. One infant died and at autopsy had varying degrees of distortion of neuronal migration, with concomitant heterotopias. Five of the eight mothers had regularly consumed benzodiazepines, and the three remaining mothers had blood samples during pregnancy revealing benzodiazepine concentrations indicative of regular use. Our findings indicate that maternal consumption of benzodiazepines may be teratogenic in humans.
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