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H2-Blockers Deemed Safe to Treat Pregnant Women

Israeli study finds gastroesophageal reflux, peptic ulcer medications pose no risk to fetus

THURSDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- H2-blockers such as famotidine, ranitidine and cimetidine are safe to treat pregnant women for peptic ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux, according to a study published online Sept. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Ilan Matok, of Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Be'er-Sheva, Israel, and colleagues analyzed the 1998 to 2007 medication dispensing data of a health maintenance organization in Israel and analyzed it for prescription of H2-blockers. The researchers matched this with data on pregnancy outcomes, controlling for confounding factors such as age, ethnic group, maternal diabetes, smoking and peripartum fever.

Women who were prescribed H2-blockers during pregnancy did not have any higher incidence of premature delivery, perinatal mortality, low birth weight, low Apgar scores or congenital abnormalities, the researchers found. When they included therapeutic terminations in the analysis, the investigators found that the findings still held.

"The databases used in this study contained information regarding H2-blockers dispensed to pregnant women, but we have no direct knowledge of the degree of adherence with H2-blockers therapy. However, available evidence suggests that the extent of adherence to medications in our population is good," the authors write. "These results, added to other reported smaller controlled studies, indicate that H2-blockers represent a safe option in the treatment of acid reflux in pregnant women."

The study received partial financial support from Duchesnay Inc.

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