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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1999 May-Jun;21(3):261-5.

Neurodevelopment after in utero amiodarone exposure.

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  • 1Motherisk Program, Division of Clinical Pharmacology/Toxicology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada.


It is not known whether amiodarone is neurotoxic to the fetus, as it is to adults. We evaluated neurodevelopment of a historical cohort (N = 10) of children exposed transplacentally to amiodarone. Scores on standardized tests of cognitive and language skills were compared (by Wilcoxon signed rank test) between eight toddlers and matched controls. It was not possible to obtain controls for older amiodarone-exposed children (aged 9.7 and 12.0 years), whose test results were compared descriptively with normative data. There was no difference in IQ scores between amiodarone-exposed toddlers and controls. All had favorable temperaments. However, amiodarone-exposed toddlers showed expressive language skills that were relatively poorer than verbal skills, when compared with controls (p = 0.046). One amiodarone-exposed toddler exhibited global developmental delay. The older amiodarone-exposed children had well-developed social competence, favorable global IQ scores, but problems with reading comprehension, written language, and arithmetic. This picture is reminiscent of the Nonverbal Learning Disability Syndrome. There may be neurotoxicity associated with transplacental exposure to amiodarone. Follow-up is warranted, although most mothers were happy with the development of their children.

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