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Diflucan® and Congenital Heart Disease

Diflucan® is an antifungal medicine that has been found to cause birth defects when given in chronic high doses to pregnant mothers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Safety Announcement warning healthcare professionals and patients about the dangers of the medication.

Among the birth defects found in babies born to a small number of women was congenital heart disease. The other set of birth defects that occurred in this group was thin ribs and long bones, muscle weakness and joint deformities, oral clefts (abnormal opening in the upper lip or palate), bowing of the thigh bones, abnormal-looking face, abnormal development of the skullcap, and a short, broad head.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

Often, the symptoms of congenital heart disease are not noticed, even when the baby is examined by the pediatrician. At other times, however, when they are more apparent, parents notice the symptoms and they are detectable by the child's doctor.

Some signs and symptoms of congenital heart disease include:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin)
  • Tiredness
  • Poor circulation of the blood

Babies with congenital heart defects don't feel any pain as a result of the defect.

Some babies have heart murmurs, which are extra or abnormal sounds the pediatrician can hear using a stethoscope. A heart murmur, however, doesn't mean the child is not well. It is not uncommon for a healthy child to have a heart murmur.

To develop normally, a child needs to have oxygen-rich blood flowing to his or her organs and tissues. Babies with a heart defect that causes fatigue may not be able to keep their energy up while feeding. Such children may fail to thrive; that is, they don't grow and develop normally.

Sometimes heart defects cause children to tire easily or to have trouble breathing during physical activity. Numerous types of congenital heart defects cause the heart to work harder than it should. Children with this problem may have heart failure. When this happens, the child's heart cannot pump the blood well enough to meet the needs of the body's organs and tissues, which require the oxygen carried in the blood to thrive.

Some symptoms of heart failure in a child are:

  • Getting tired when doing physical activities
  • Swelling in the abdomen, legs, ankles, feet and veins in the back of the neck
  • Feeling short of breath or having problems breathing
  • Accumulation of fluid and blood in the lungs

Complications of Congenital Heart Disease

Until their heart problems are corrected, children with heart disease may not be able to play easily. They might need to undergo a range of diagnostic tests to find the specific problem they have. They might need open heart surgery to correct the defect.

Diflucan® is often used to treat vaginal yeast infections. At the proper dosage for this condition, a one-time dose of 150 mg of Diflucan®, there should be no problem with congenital heart disease or any of the other side-effects of being exposed to this medicine while in utero (in the uterus, before the baby is born).

Higher doses, between 400 mg and 800 mg per day, over a long period of time during the first trimester of fetal development have been linked to a number of birth defects, according to the FDA announcement. One of these is congenital heart disease.

If your baby is born with heart complications or other congenital defects and you took Diflucan® during your pregnancy, you may be eligible for financial compensation. To find out if you qualify, schedule a free case review with a qualified birth defect attorney today.

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