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Nausea Drug Safe During First Trimester of Pregnancy

Metoclopramide does not increase the risk of birth defects and other adverse outcomes

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Taking metoclopramide to relieve nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy does not increase the risk of birth defects and other adverse outcomes, according to a study in the June 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Ilan Matok, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel, and colleagues investigated the safety of metoclopramide during the first trimester of pregnancy in 78,245 women who did not receive metoclopramide and 3,458 women who received the drug. Metoclopramide is used to treat only the most severe cases in the United States and Canada, while it is the drug of choice in Israel and some European countries, according to the authors.

The researchers found that exposure to metoclopramide did not significantly affect the risk of major congenital malformations (odds ratio, 1.04), low birth weight (odds ratio, 1.01), preterm delivery (odds ratio, 1.15), or perinatal death (odds ratio, 0.87). Inclusion of 998 therapeutic pregnancy terminations, where 38 women had received metoclopramide, did not significantly affect the results.

"In this large cohort of infants, exposure to metoclopramide in the first trimester was not associated with significantly increased risks of any of several adverse outcomes," Matok and colleagues conclude. "These findings provide reassurance regarding the safety of metoclopramide for the fetus when the drug is given to women to relieve nausea and vomiting during pregnancy."

One of the authors reported a financial and consulting relationship with Duchesnay, a company that focuses on the health of the pregnant woman and her unborn child.

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