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Pregnancy Nausea Drug Found to be Harmless for Fetuses

Update Date: Feb 28, 2013 09:37 AM EST

Pregnant women can now find relief from morning sickness and vomiting. A new Danish study found that the popular anti-nausea drug, Zofran is safe to use in treating the side effects of pregnancies. Roughly 1 in ten women suffers from extreme cases of morning sickness and decides to forgo treatment because of the fear that her unborn baby will react negatively to the medication. However, these women can rest assured now that the large study found no birth complications from taking the anti-nausea drug.

The Danish study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and it gathered data from over 600,000 pregnancies within the nation. Base from the analysis of the data, Zofran, which is sold by GlaxoSmithKline and in a generic form, will not cause birth defects, such as cleft palate, which mothers and doctors were afraid of.  Lead author, Dr. Bjorn Pasternak of the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, and the research team focused on the rates of miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects, preterm delivery, and premature babies in both women who used and did not use Zofran. The research team even looked more specifically into the first trimester, where risks for the fetuses' growth may be higher and found no conclusive evidence that Zofran led to birth defects. Of the 608,385 pregnancies, 1,970 of them were using Zofran.

A high-risk pregnancy specialist at NYC Langone Medical Center who is also a spokesperson for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Iffath Hoskins also confirmed the findings stating that the drug is both effective and safe.  Dr. Hoskins was not a part of the study.  By not treating vomiting and nausea, the strain they might put on the body can be harmful as well. The fetus can lose nutrition if the mother is excessively throwing up food. However, pregnant women should try non-medicinal remedies first, such as crackers, ginger ale, and certain B vitamins before turning to medicine.

There are currently no nausea drugs approved for pregnant women in the United States although doctors and pregnant mothers can decide on their own form of treatment. The study was paid for by the Danish Medical Research Council. 

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