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.
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.