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Anti-nausau drug safe for pregnant women: Study

2009-06-15 09:56 BJT

BEIJING, June 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Pregnant women who take metoclopramide, a commonly used drug for anti-nausea, are not risking harm to their babies, according to researchers.

Metoclopramide is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in pregnant women, but it is dispensed widely in Europe and other places to treat morning sickness.

The study, the largest one of maternal metoclopramide use to date, was released Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers from Israel and Canada analysed on nearly 3,500 babies born between 1998 and 2007 in a region in southern Israel. The rate of congenital birth defects in babies born to mothers who used the anti-nausea drug was about the same as that in babies whose mothers had not (5.3 percent vs. 4.9 percent). What's more, the length of time pregnant women used the drug appeared to not affect the rate of abnormalities in their babies: 4.9 percent of women who took metoclopramide for up to one week in their first trimester went on to have babies with birth defects, compared with 6.1 percent of women who used the drug for more than three months.

The researchers also found no significantly increased risk of low birth weight, premature delivery or fetal death. “I think that women will be comforted by this,” said Dr. Keith Eddleman, director of obstetrics at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. “Most women are reluctant (to take medications) just because of the stories they’ve heard and the perception that taking something in the first trimester can cause harm.”

“We worry about women with extensive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy,” said Dr. Eva Pressman, director of maternal fetal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. “There’s concern about dehydration and losing weight. The largeness of this study is clearly better than anything we’ve had to date on the safety of metoclopramide, and it shows that there are safe medications that you can use in pregnancy.”

Metoclopramide is believed to combat nausea by relieving the spasms that prompt uneasiness.

Editor: Yang Jie | Source: Xinhua