Terbutaline linked to Autism


According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, injectable terbutaline is not safe for use in pregnant women for prevention or prolonged treatment of preterm labor. The FDA warns there is a potential for serious maternal heart problems and death if doctors use terbutaline beyond 48-72 hours of prolonged treatment in a hospital or outpatient setting. The FDA’s report goes on to state that the agency is against any use of oral tablet terbutaline in pregnant women for prevention of preterm labor.

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Doctors prescribe terbutaline for asthma. However, the drug is used off-label, meaning for a purpose other than what Food and Drug Administration approves, for slowing or stopping preterm labor and for calming uterine hyperactive stimulation, according to the FDA. The FDA ruled to require a Boxed Warning and Contraindication based on safety reports of heart problems and death related to terbutaline use in obstetric cases. Terbutaline crosses the placental barrier and blood-brain barrier of the fetus, which may lead to an autistic-spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders.

A recent study conducted at Duke University illustrated the risk of terbutaline to infants. The study found an increased risk of brain damage and cognitive deficits in babies whose mothers were treated with terbutaline during preterm labor. The study showed that the use of terbutaline may predispose babies to autism and that it may make the brain more vulnerable to toxins.

“Although the FDA’s recent requirement of a warning against the use of terbutaline for preterm labor use is cause for relief, the missing mention of a connection between prolonged use of terbutaline therapy and aspergers, PDD (pervasive development disorder), or autism is of concern,” says Richard Dodd, a senior partner with Cappolino Dodd Krebs LLP. “Sure, we should not use terbutaline when studies show no benefit and increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events. But the warnings should also mention the connection of autistic type results from the prolonged use of this powerful drug, terbutaline sulfate (Brethine). I have known families that suffer from the results of this high risk for years and intend to get enough attention to stop the use of terbutaline for preterm labor. This is a good warning, but since it is the second one of similar language, it is not enough,” states Dodd.

Some medical experts estimate that autistic disorder incidents have increased over 172% since 1990. These findings leave parents of autistic children looking for answers as well as causes of autism in children. Toxins and bad medical drugs, including vaccinations, are often the leading suspects of autism disorders. Two studies, one in the US at Columbia University and one in Britain by St. George’s Hospital Medical School found a higher rate of autism among twins. The rate of autism in identical twins was 12-14 times higher and autism in fraternal twins was about 3 times higher than the general population. Fraternal twins form when two separate eggs are fertilized by separate sperm. Unlike identical twins, fraternal twins do not share the same genetic blueprint.



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17 Comments

  1. Catherine Yagecic says:

    I was on terbutaline, (oral) for 3 months prior to my youngest daughter’s birth. She is now 24. She wound up being born a premie anyway, but are there other symptoms to look for, and is this something that will affect her children?

  2. Annmarie says:

    This is what I had after my car accident at 8 months.and I ALWAYS thought this was the trigger. Especially since I had side effects RIGHT AFTER Giving birth..since my 5 year old NEVER was vaccinatd, or had ANY SHOTS or MEDS(besides Terbutaline). I ate all organic, vegan, all homemade foods, no chemicals in the house. I do(and did not) even use nail polish or remover…etc.

  3. Kelly says:

    This disgusts me. Who can we hold accountable? I had Brethine with my oldest who has autism due to contractions at 33 weeks. I delivered at 35 weeks, but he was 7 pounds. I always thought they had my due date wrong, otherwise I would have had a 10 pound baby.

  4. Vicki says:

    OMG Kelly! I thought the same thing about the due date! I was on Terbutaline for 3 weeks, had my son 5 weeks early (anyways) and then had a heart attack 2 weeks after that. I was 34 years old! My son is not autistic but does have a language processing disorder. I wonder if that’s due to the Terbutaline!

  5. Jennifer says:

    I was 26 years old and suddenly went into labor at 24 weeks. Apparently my kidneys can’t handle pregnancy, so they gave me terbutaline. My first question before they gave me this was, “Will this hurt my baby?” They said they didn’t know but they had to stop the contractions. I was on the drug for 2 and a half months and on bed rest. I still went into pre-term labor 4 more times. My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at the age of 3. This is a slight form of autism. He has a language disorder as well. He is now in the 6th grade doing well and now reading on a 6th grade level but comprehends on a 4th grade level. He makes honor roll every quarter. He does repeat things he loves over and over again – like history facts. He is very social, so all things considered I think we are lucky. We do work very hard every day in order to get him caught up. He hardly ever complains.

  6. Tammy says:

    This makes me sick. I was told of no risk.I took this garbage for a month for pretem labor .My son was just diagnosed with PDD.A form of autism spectrum disorder.What or who can be held accountable for this .I would have never taken this garbage if I had been properly informed.. Now my son has to live with a impairment he may never have gotten because big drug manufacturers hide or bury the risks to people. I am gonna look into a suit cause the big drug caused this they can support my son for his life.. Makes me sick…

  7. sarah says:

    I had 3 shots of terbutaline when I was contracting at 22 weeks. My daughter is 3 1/2 and is now waiting to be evaluated for autism spectrum disorder. I’m just now looking into the thought it could be related. I didn’t know anything about the drug when I was given it, but researched it when I got home from the hospital. I am very glad this drug is not going to be used for pregnant women any more.

  8. AutismWarriorMom says:

    I have three kids, first was born 6 weeks early, no cause of my preterm labor was ever ‘found’ (no infections/no gestational diabetes/etc just a ‘irritable uterus’), i was on terb. pills for weeks prior to my water starting to leak, and in fact, was also given terb. injections in a couple of hosital visits for trying to stop contractions…he is now dx with autism and other special needs,

    second baby, boy, born 3 weeks early, considered full term though…pre term labor started at 26 weeks, stopped in hospital at 26 weeks, 28 weeks, 31 weeks, 33 weeks, and last stopped at 35 weeks, last preterm event at 37 weeks not stopped and he was born…was on oral terb pills here and there, and also had to have mag sulfate in huge doses twice early on (at 26 and 28 weeks)…
    He also has Autism and other special needs, he still is nonverbal at age 7 ALTHOUGH he tries hard every day to say things :) he is getting there!

    Third child, female, born at 37 weeks again, considered full term. Did have preterm labor stopped a few different times, however, no terb used because ‘it didnt work the last two times’ so they went right to the ‘stronger’ and (according to them) “better stuff” the mag sulfate…only had preterm labor stopped at 30, 33 and 35 weeks…she is ‘typical’ withOUT autism..has a small speech delay, catching up very quickly, speech delay attributed to having 2 brothers as full time peers in the home where one is still nonverbal and one was nonverbal for her first 2 years…but no other ‘symptoms’ and has had an immune system FAR HEALTHIER than her brothers had and still have!

    I have to say that I DO beleive this is all immune system and environmental (non genetic)..that of course, maybe genetically boys are more prone to lower immune systems, therefore not able to process these toxins out of the body like girls can….and maybe even genetically boys and girls may have just lower immune function (for girls that get Autism)..I believe the Autism of today is not the same as the Autism of years past, NOW I believe its just a name given for a bunch of symptoms of the damaged immune system, from terb. and/or vaccine toxins that we KNOW are neurotoxins, and KNOW we CAN make them without some of these known toxins, but do not because its not ‘cost effective’…sure not cost effective for the drug companies for the vaccine..BUT the lifelong consequences of those toxins which could have been removed without affecting vaccines efficacy, those are not obviously calculated as they are FAR greater!

    Anyway, Does anyone know if there are docs/lawyers working on a Terb investigation specifically? If yes, please contact me at: recoveringautism at yahoo dot com because I would be very happy to help by producing my kids medical records for review, as its plain as day that my sons had great amounts of terb, but my daughter had none, and we didnt stop or slow down my daughters vaccines til she was 9 months old or so so she had the same early on vacccines as her bro’s? My thoughts are the terb put my boys into GREAT IMMUNE SYSTEM DAMAGE and then the vaccines, given one by one, two by two, three or four by three or four, all ended up pushing my boys deeper into health failure as well as into whats being called ‘autism’ today…which could explain why my daugher wasnt so affected with so many illnesses early on, she wasnt ‘set up’ for immune system failure with the terb like my boys were..or could possibly be the terb 100% I sure would love to know as well as help prevent ANY child or family from suffering any more! Thanks!

  9. Rick Dodd says:

    This not really “news” to us. We have for a long time suspected genetics to be a key factor regarding the development of the autism. When studies indicate an environmental cause, they should be considered as noteworthy. Because fraternal twins who have been diagnosed within the Asperger’s disease spectrum shared a special environment, but not the same DNA, I believe their history can help us determine an environmental cause. Since there is testing available to rule out the genetic factors, there may be some accountability for those responsible.

  10. karen says:

    Catherine, My son is 19 and is experiencing a sudden and severe brain disorder. He has had language, digestive, respiratory and learning problems all his life, but just a few months ago he became severely disabled, not even able to recognize his own sister. Several trips to the ER and even more to the doctor and several psychiatrists, endless blood, urine, spinal, and just about every test later and they do not know what caused this. After doing some research on the use of Terbutaline, I am wondering if indeed this could be a long term effect of the drug. Apparently they never did any testing on unborn children until we the patients started having some serious complaints about why our children had all these problems. We will not know the effects on our children’s children until they also start complaining and it gets reported.

  11. heather says:

    I am furious at this!!! I was given Terbutaline for 11 weeks of my pregnancy to stop preterm labor. My Dr’s told me that it would not harm the baby. My DS was diagnosed with Autism at 20 months old. He is now 3 and has made great strides, but he has many daily struggles.

  12. Susie says:

    I took terbutaline for 4 1/2 months while pregnant with my boy/girl twins. I was not aware of the connection between this drug and autism until it was written in a report at school “suspected autism due to terbutaline taken by mother during pregnancy”. After 7 1/2 years of fertility treatments and a miscarriage I thought this was our only option however; no one ever said it was harmful to the babies. My son is a 17-year-old aspergers kid, although high functioning he is “odd” and does not fit well in society. I worry for him as an adult.

  13. Gwyn says:

    Susie,

    My son is now 14 and he has had problems his entire life
    “fitting in.” I took terbutaline by pump for 2 months. I have yet to find a doctor or psychiatrist to actually read the information I present to them regarding his behaviors and the possible relation to the terbutaline. All the doctors take the information and sit it aside, never even reading it. All I want is what is best for my child, but no one seems to be able to help. I also worry about his future and only want him to be happy and healthy and loved. He has been put on all kinds of stimulants for ADD but none have helped. Now he is off all medications and barely getting by in school. He is a bright child and always scores well on the FCAT, but without constant supervision, he will not do his work. Called his psychologist again today to talk more.

  14. E says:

    To all of those who are angry and seeking revenge, the problems your children are experiencing, possibly as a side effect of a medication, are very unfortunate,but you need to realize that no one was trying to hide anything from anyone. Your doctors didn’t tell you about a risk of autism because it wasn’t a known risk. The drug companies were also unaware of this risk. Many side effects are discovered after medications are released to the public simply because it is impossible to identify all of them in studies. This is especially true of side effects in pregnancy because very few studies are allowed to include pregnant women. Medical professionals do the best they can with the knowledge available, and fortunately, we learn more everyday so we can do a better job in the future.

  15. Ellen Gates says:

    this medication was given to me for to long, consoderomg it was being used off label, which I was not made aware of, I believe the more appropriate treatmemt would have been to give it short term while they gave him the meds that would have increased the the growth and functioning of his lungs. He has multiple psuchiatric issues, learning disabilities, as well as high functioning form of autism, to which there is no treatment. I was never motified that this medication was being used off label, amd whem asked what the side effects or effect on the baby may be I was simply told if I didn’t take it he’d be born premature, no other info was given. I believe that they should have given me this medication short term while they treated his lungs so if he ws born a premie he’d have been given a fighting chance. He now has multiple psychiatric issues, and a high functioning form of autism, to which there is no cure. While I get the run around trying to get him SSI benefits, this causes a hardship on our family,. I am also disabled due to spinal injuries, and can see that they are taking advantage of the sitution. Why can they not be sued for using off label medications (which I was on my entire third trimester) when I wasn’t even allowed to take antibiotics during my pregnancy. I’ll give you one more, I didn’t even eat margarine, cold cuts, or anthing else that may cause risk to my child to protect him. I would never have agreed to this medication had I been given all of the information available at the time, unless it was short term to treat his lungs so that the lonterm treatment woujld not have been necessary. I did eerything in my power to protect this baby, and because I was lied to he was born with serious psychatric and learining disorders. Despite everything I did, once on this medication my baby never stood a chance, I beleieve any medicastions used on a pregnant mother have serious consequences to the fetus, and the fact that they had me on this off label medication for long term treatment is neglegence on the part of the pharmaceutical company who bsugested that it was safe and effective without proper studies. Now my son is permanently disabled with an illness to which there is no cure. Someone must be responsible. What will happen to him once my husbsnd and I are gone? A group home, which will drive him crazy because noises aggitate him and cause very fast decompansdation, among other normal day to day situatuions, please call me at 6318030714 or I will contact another attorney

  16. JMS says:

    I was 20 weeks when I started having contractions and the dr’s gave me terbutaline in a shot, contractions stoped I was sent home….and started contractions again a week or 2 later, went back in got another shot. Checked in with my ob with in a few days and was sent home with a prescription of terbutaline pills! I felt shaky and it felt like I didn’t have control/anxious! and I still had my son at 36 weeks. He has speech delays, low muscle tone, ADHD,ODD, sensory and texture issues, old static encephalopathy(under the umbrella for mild cerebral palsy)chronic constipation, and we are on a waiting list to be evaluated for the autism spectrum disorder(high functioning)! I hope a law suit comes about from all these children and their families affected by Terbutaline!!

  17. Jeanette says:

    I was hospitalized with my twins in 1998 on bed rest at 27 weeks they put me on the terbutiline pump for 6 weeks and i had my boys at 33 weeks. One of my twins is fine the other had speach problems and was in therapy from age 4 to 9 yrs old. He is very intelligent. around age 6 he started with facial tics and ocd. I took him to a neurologist at Johns Hopkins and he was diagnosed with Asperger’s. he outgrew the facial tics and is an A student. at age 8 he started having anxiety attacks really bad he was on meds and seeing a therapist until age 13 they tried to take him off the meds and 4 months later now age 14 his anxiety attacks are worse then ever. I feel this is all due to the terbutiline i was given.

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