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A frightening report from Boston University School of Medicine shows that drugs that block folic acid can cause birth defects.

Doctors usually recommend that a pregnant women take folic acid pills because lack of that vitamin causes birth defects including spinal cord damage, urinary tract and heart abnormalities and cleft palate. Folic acid can be blocked by drugs that a pregnant women may take, such as anticonvulsants such as phenobarbital, Tegretol and Dilantin; antibiotics such as trimethoprim; diuretics such as triamterene; arthritis medications such as sulfasalazine; and anti-cancer drugs such as methotrexate and aminopterin.

All pregnant women should eat foods rich in folic acid such as nuts, beans, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, and fruits such as oranges and avocados. They may also take folic acid supplements, and they should check with their doctors about the effects of any other necessary medications on folic acid.

Hernandez-diaz S et al. NEJM November 30, 2000

May 16th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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