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Fetal retinoid syndrome is a characteristic pattern of physical birth defects in a baby that has been exposed to retinoids during pregnancy. The best-known retinoid is isotretinoin (Accutane), a drug used to treat severe cystic acne.
Babies exposed to retinoids during pregnancy may have a wide variety of symptoms. Some may have no symptoms at all, others may have only intellectual and learning problems, while others will have very severe symptoms.
Birth defects associated with retinoid exposure include:
• Growth delay
• Excess fluid around the brain (hydrocephalus)
• Abnormally small head size (microcephaly)
• Intellectual and learning disabilities
• Ear and eye abnormalities
• A split in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate) and other facial differences
• Heart defects.
It is thought that 20-35% of fetuses exposed to retinoids during pregnancy will develop some of these birth defects.
Retinoids can cause these birth defects in the early weeks of pregnancy, even before a woman knows that she is pregnant. Some of the birth defects associated with fetal retinoid syndrome may be diagnosed by ultrasound during pregnancy.
No treatment exists for fetal retinoid syndrome. Babies born with this condition are treated based on their symptoms. Currently, public health programs exist to help reduce the chance that a woman will use retinoids if she is considering getting pregnant.
Source: GARD Last updated on 05-01-20
The March of Dimes provides information about fetal retinoid syndrome. Click on the above link to access this information.
Last updated on 04-27-20
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