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Drug prescribed to Pregnant Women with history of delivering Premature Babies may do more Harm than Good: Study

The drug, mostly prescribed to pregnant women with a history of delivering premture babies may even increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes

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New York, March 15, 2017: A drug commonly prescribed to pregnant women with a history of delivering premature babies may do more harm than good, says a study.

Far from providing any benefit, this drug — known by the brand name Makena — may even increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes, said the study published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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“Our study showed the drug to be ineffective, and it has a side effect,” said first author of the study David Nelson, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern) in the US.

The drug, a synthetic progestogen hormone called 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 to treat women at risk of delivering a second premature baby.

The FDA gave the drug accelerated approval in part due to findings in a 2003 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that the drug reduced the likelihood of a repeat preterm delivery.

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However, Makena has been a source of debate among doctors because of the questions raised about the 2003 findings.

Earlier research findings on the benefit of 17-OHPC have been mixed, said Kenneth Leveno, senior author of the study and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern.

In the newly published study, pregnant women treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital, were offered the drug 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17-OHPC) if they had a prior history of premature births and were carrying a single fetus.

The research took place from 2012 to 2016 and followed 430 women treated with the drug.

Researchers then compared the premature birth rate of those women with the historical premature birth rate of 5,787 patients seen at Parkland between 1988 and 2011 — women who also had a history of premature delivery but never took the drug.

Of the women in the study group who took the drug, 25 per cent had a premature delivery.

That compared with a 16.8 per cent preterm birth rate in the historical nondrug group.

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The rate of gestational diabetes was 13.4 per cent in women treated with the drug, compared with eight per cent in the other group, the study found.

Gestational diabetes often goes away after the birth, and therefore is not usually a serious problem for the mother, Nelson said.

However, it can lead to deliveries of larger babies and increased chances for cesarean sections and other birth complications. (IANS)

 

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Prolonged paracetamol use in pregnancy may up autism, ADHD risk

While there is also a 20 percent increase in relative risk for ASD, compared to those who did not take the medications

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Long-term use of paracetamol during pregnancy is associated with the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), a study has found.

Previous studies showed that long-term administration of low doses of paracetamol also known as acetaminophen may affect the development of the fetal nervous system. This effect is often seen years after exposure during childhood.

Protein responsible for postpartum depression in pregnancy found
Paracetamol can harm infants. IANS

The new study, appearing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that prolonged exposure to acetaminophen found in the commonly used drug for the treatment of pain and fever, during pregnancy is associated with a 30 per cent increase in relative risk for ADHD.

While there is also a 20 per cent increase in relative risk for ASD, compared to those who did not take the medications. “The findings suggest an association between prolonged acetaminophen use and an increase in the risk of autism and ADHD,” said Ilan Matok, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

Also Read: 5 Healthy Ways To Get Back In Shape After Pregnancy

For the new research, the team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis 1,32,738 mother and child pairs with a follow-up period of three to 11 years.

The researchers believe that it is important to understand that pain and fever during pregnancy can have a detrimental effect on the developing foetus, but acetaminophen is still considered a safe drug for use during pregnancy.

Paracetamol can cause ADHD in children. Pixabay

Therefore, if a pregnant woman has fever and/or pain, acetaminophen can be taken for a short period, and if the fever or pain continues beyond that, she should consult her physician regarding further treatment.

“While the unnecessary use of any medication should be avoided in pregnancy, we believe our findings should not alter current practice and women should not avoid the use of short-term acetaminophen when clinically needed,” Matok said. IANS