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Nicotine Replacement in Pregnant Smokers Likely Safe

However, study finds adverse pregnancy history and analgesics linked to adverse events

MONDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Nicotine replacement therapy does not increase the risk of adverse events in pregnant smokers, according to a study in the October issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Geeta K. Swamy, M.D., from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 157 pregnant smokers who had been randomly assigned to receive nicotine replacement therapy plus cognitive behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy alone as part of a clinical trial. The trial had found a higher incidence of perinatal adverse events in the nicotine replacement group, but did not entirely control for confounding factors.

Consistent with what had been found in the trial, the researchers found that women receiving nicotine replacement therapy had a higher incidence of adverse events (31 versus 17 percent). Independent predictors of adverse events were being African-American, having an adverse pregnancy history, and using analgesic medication during pregnancy. In contrast, receiving nicotine replacement therapy was not a significant predictor.

"Although race, poor pregnancy history, and use of analgesics were associated with serious adverse events, randomization to nicotine replacement therapy during pregnancy was not a significant factor," Swamy and colleagues conclude. "Further research is needed to examine the safety of analgesic medications during pregnancy."

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