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Teen Girls Given Drugs That Cause Birth Defects Don't Get Contraceptive Advice

Study examines young women taking the drugs and finds most aren't cautioned

New research from a Midwestern hospital suggests a wide majority of teen girls and young women fail to get information about contraceptives when they take medications that could cause birth defects.

At issue are so-called "teratogenic" medications, used for conditions ranging from acne to anxiety, that boost the risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy.

Physicians often tell sexually active women to take birth control while they're on the drugs to avoid becoming pregnant, but it's unclear whether younger females routinely get the same kind of guidance.

In the new study, researchers examined the medical records of nearly 1,700 females aged 14 to 25 who received just over 4,500 prescriptions for teratogenic medications in more than 4,100 visits from 2008-2012. All the participants had visited a large, unidentified pediatric medical center in the Midwest.

"Seventy percent of teens prescribed these medications likely did not receive important information, leaving them at risk should they become pregnant," noted the study's lead author, Stephani Stancil, a nurse practitioner with Children's Mercy in Kansas City, Mo.

"There is a huge opportunity for improvement," she said.

Read more via HealthDay News.