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MOTHERS ASKED FOR TRANQUILLISER FACTS
January 5, 1997
by Victoria Macdonald,
A SURVEY of more than 1,000 women is to be carried out, following reports of physical and mental disorders among children born to women who took tranquillisers while pregnant.
The survey comes weeks after The Telegraph revealed a generation of children suffering cleft palates, wasted bodies and dyslexia. The children - now in their teens and twenties - were born to women who took tranquillisers during pregnancy. All suffered withdrawal symptoms at birth.
Yet despite medical literature dating back to the early Seventies warning of concerns over the drugs being taken by women of child-bearing age, the mothers say they were not told their babies could be affected.
The Council for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction (CITA) will write to its members to find out how many took the drugs during pregnancy and if their children have suffered physical, mental or psychological problems. Pam Armstrong, of CITA, said there was a vital need for more research into any possible link between the disorders and the drugs.
The two main manufacturers of tranquillisers, Roche Products and John Wyeth and Brothers, warn on their drug data sheets that the products should not be taken during pregnancy. Yet neither accepts that there is evidence that the drugs are unsafe during pregnancy.
Women currently taking tranquillisers who plan to become pregnant or who are pregnant should not suddenly stop taking the drugs, as this can be dangerous.
CITA can be contacted on 051 932 0102.
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