Lesson 35

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Drug as Teratogens:

Drug as Teratogens

Overview::

Overview: Principles of teratogenic action Research on prenatal drug exposure

Principles of teratogenic action - 1:

Principles of teratogenic action - 1 Teratogens are environmental agents (viral, bacterial, chemical, radiation, drugs) that disrupt the course of normal prenatal development or cause birth defects To the extent that psychoactive drugs adversely effect prenatal development they are teratogens Four principles of teratogenic action will be identified

Principles of teratogenic action - 2:

Principles of teratogenic action - 2 First, teratogenic agents may effect the mother differently than the prenatal individual Mother may be mildly intoxicated for a short time while the fetus may be drug exposed for much longer periods of time Second, there are individual differences in susceptibility to the effects of teratogenic agents One prenatal individual may suffer birth defects from low levels of alcohol exposure while another shows no apparent effect from higher levels of exposure

Principles of teratogenic action - 3:

Principles of teratogenic action - 3 Third, the physical health of the mother can influence the impact of teratogeic agents on the pre-natal individual A healthy mother with proper liver function may be able to buffer the effects of teratogenic agents on the prenatal individual Forth, teratogeic effects vary with developmental stage In general, teratogenic exposure earlier in development results in greater harm than exposure later in development The under-developed liver of pre-natal individuals is less able to metabolize psychoactive drug molecules

Research on prenatal drug exposure - 1:

Research on prenatal drug exposure - 1 Research on the teratogenic effects of illicit psychoactive drugs is difficult because individuals who use illicit drugs while pregnant: Are relatively uncommon May be unwilling to volunteer information Often engage in other activities that confound identification of harm caused by a specific drug

Research on prenatal drug exposure - 2:

Research on prenatal drug exposure - 2 In turn, the best data are on teratogenic effects caused by alcohol and tobacco Confounded research has led to considerable misinformation about the teratogenic effects of illicit drugs

Research on prenatal drug exposure - 3:

Research on prenatal drug exposure - 3 Consider the pre-natal experiences that might co-occur with a women who abuses cocaine throughout her pregnancy – is such a person likely to: Receive regular prenatal medical care Eat a proper pre-natal diet Take pre-natal vitamins Smoke tobacco and marijuana, and drink alcohol Receive proper rest Experience high levels of stress She may have experienced all of these risk factors but if her child is born with any detectable abnormality, the cause of the abnormality may be attributed to the use of cocaine