BREAKING! Study Shockingly Finds That All Whose Mothers Took The Drug Bendectin In The 1960s And 1970s Are At Risk Of Colorectal Cancer!
A new study by researchers from University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston)-USA and the School of Public Health Public Health Institute, Berkeley, California-USA have shockingly found that all whose mothers had taken the anti-nausea drug called Bendectin during pregnancy face a high risk of developing colorectal cancer
The study findings showed that prenatal exposure to the anti-nausea drug commonly used in the 1960s and 1970s, Bendectin, is linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer in adult offspring.
The study, published in the peer reviewed journal: JNCI Cancer Spectrum and led by Dr Caitlin Murphy, PhD, MPH, associate professor at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, highlights how events that occur in the earliest periods of life, including the womb, can affect the risk of cancer many decades later.
The incidence rates of colorectal cancer have been increasing among adults born in and after the 1960s, implicating pregnancy-related exposures introduced during that time as risk factors.
Bendectin was a drug prescribed during pregnancy in the 1960s to prevent nausea and vomiting, and it contained dicyclomine, which is used to treat spasms caused by irritable bowel syndrome.
The study team analyzed data from the Child Health and Development Studies, a multi-generational cohort that enrolled more than 14,500 pregnant women (who bore 18,751 offspring) in Oakland, California, between 1959 and 1967. Through medical records, they determined that about 5% of offspring, or 1,014 children, were exposed in utero to Bendectin.
The study findings showed that per 10,000 offspring, incidence rates of colorectal cancer were three times as high in those exposed to Bendectin compared to offspring not exposed.
Dr Murphy believes the higher risk of colorectal cancer in offspring exposed to the drug may be driven by dicyclomine, which was contained in the three-part formulation of Bendectin used during the 1960s.
It is suspected that dicyclomine may directly target the developing gastrointestinal tract of the fetus, she said, adding that some studies suggest infants born to women who received Bendectin during pregnancy are more likely to have gastrointestinal birth defects.
The manufacturer, Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc that was based in Kansas City-USA, removed dicyclomine from the drug's formula in 1976 after reports of birth defects and concerns in the wake of the thalidomide tragedy.
Pregnant women in the late 1950s, early 1960s and 1970s were prescribed a drug containing thalidomide to relieve morning sickness, which led to a scandal when more than 10,000 offspring were born with a range of severe deformities.
While dicyclomine is still used in clinical practice to treat irritable bowel syndrome and is designated as Pregnancy Category B by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meaning there are not adequate studies of pregnant women to determine risk
to the fetus, Dr Murphy warns that medications prescribed to pregnant women may contribute to higher rates of cancer among offspring exposed in the womb.
The study provides valuable insight into how early life exposures can impact long-term health outcomes and calls for experimental studies to clarify these findings and identify mechanisms of risk. Dr Barbara A. Cohn, PhD, with the Public Health Institute in Berkeley, California, was senior author of the study, and co-authors from the Public Health Institute were Dr Piera M. Cirillo, MPH, and Dr Nickilou Y. Krigbaum, MPH. Dr Amit G. Singal, MD, from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, also contributed to the study.
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