Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the return of a drug that was widely used to treat morning sickness until it came off the market 30 years ago. Bendectin, now called Diclegis, will return to the market in early July after extensive study has shown it is safe and effective. Time.com has more:
Monday’s FDA decision means a new version of the pill once called Bendectin is set to return to U.S. pharmacies under a different name — Diclegis — as a safe and effective treatment for this pregnancy rite of passage.
In the intervening decades, the treatment is widely believed to have undergone more scrutiny for safety than any other drug used during pregnancy.
“There’s been a lot of buzz about this. Nothing better has come along” to treat morning sickness in those 30 years, said Dr. Edward McCabe, medical director for the March of Dimes, who welcomed the step.
“We know safety-wise, there’s zero question,” said Dr. Gary Hankins of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, who headed one of the company-financed studies of Diclegis that led to its approval.
U.S. sales of Diclegis are expected to begin in early June, according to Canada-based manufacturer Duchesnay Inc. The company has long sold a generic version of the pill in Canada under yet another name, Diclectin.
For all the names, the main ingredients are the same: Vitamin B6 plus the over-the-counter antihistamine doxylamine, found in the sleep aid Unisom. U.S. obstetricians have long told nauseated pregnant women how to mix up the right dose themselves.
In fact, in 2004 the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued guidelines calling the combination a first-line therapy.
The difference that prescription-only Diclegis would offer: Combining both ingredients with a delayed-release coating designed to help women take a daily dose before their nausea sets in.
This news follows a Danish study last month that showed that Zofran, another morning sickness medication, is also safe.
Image: Woman suffering from nausea, via Shutterstock
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Friday, March 1st, 2013
A Danish study has found that Zofran, an anti-nausea drug that’s given to pregnant women who suffer from severe morning sickness, does not harm a growing fetus. More from USA Today:
One in 10 pregnant women has nausea and vomiting bad enough to need medicine but many forgo it out of fear of side effects. No drugs are currently approved for morning sickness in the United States although doctors are free to prescribe whatever they believe is best.
Zofran, sold by GlaxoSmithKline and in generic form for treating nausea from cancer treatments and other causes, has been the top choice. Yet women and doctors have been leery of it because a small study previously suggested it might raise the risk of a birth defect — cleft palate.
The new study of more than 600,000 pregnancies in Denmark found no evidence of major birth-related problems, so women should not be afraid to use Zofran if they need it, said Dr. Iffath Hoskins, a high-risk pregnancy specialist at NYU Langone Medical Center and a spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“It’s effective and it’s safe,” she said. “Nobody is giving you a gold star for suffering through this.”
Poor nutrition because of excessive vomiting can harm the woman and the fetus, she said.
Image: Woman with morning sickness, via Shutterstock
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Monday, January 28th, 2013
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is reportedly trying to use hypnotherapy as a way to find food appealing during a pregnancy in which she’s suffering from a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemisis gravidarum. The Huffington Post says that an Australian tabloid is attributing the hypnotherapy news to a friend of the Duchess’ and says that is not confirmed:
Whether Kate is actually undergoing hypnosis is up for debate, given the source of the report. But the claim raises questions of whether hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective as a treatment for women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum.
Medical studies do not offer conclusive evidence. In 2010, researchers at Queen’s University of Belfast in Belfast, Northern Ireland, completed an examination of six different studies on hypnotherapy and acute morning sickness and found encouraging results for its use as a treatment. However, the researchers concluded that the quality of evidence was not sufficient to establish whether hypnosis is truly effective.
According to Dr. Tony Chon with the Mayo Clinic’s Complimentary and Integrative Medicine Program, studies on hypnotherapy’s effectiveness have shown mixed results. However, he told The Huffington Post that enough anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that the method can be a help to women, especially when so few treatment options exist for acute morning sickness.
“There’s a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis, where everything is in dark room and someone’s going to be swinging a clock in your face and youre going to be barking like a dog,” Chon said to HuffPost.
Instead, he explained, the practice should relax the mind, making the subject more open and receptive to positive suggestions. Since morning sickness conditions the brain to associate food with nausea, hypnotherapy could possibly recondition that response, according to Chon.
“When someone is going through a trance with hypnosis, then you’re kind of trying to change the way someone thinks about food,” he said. “Rather than saying you’re going to get nauseaus, you’re saying the food that you see from this point on is going to be very nutritious, it’s going to be good tasting, it’s going to lead to a positive pregnancy.”
Image: Kate Middleton, via Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
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Friday, December 7th, 2012
Ginger is the most effective herbal remedy for pregnant women who are struggling with morning sickness, performing as well as Dramamine, a new study published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine has found. But a number of other herbal remedies commonly used by pregnant women, including castor oil to induce labor, raspberry tea to shorten it, and garlic to treat preeclampsia, were found to have no measurable affect beyond, perhaps, a placebo effect in some cases. From The New York Times:
“In their report, published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, they identified more than 500 studies of herbal remedies used during pregnancy. Many studies had design flaws and other problems and, ultimately, only 14 randomized, controlled trials were deemed suitable to include in the report.
The researchers found that ginger was the most thoroughly studied remedy, and the one found most consistently effective. It relieved morning sickness better than a placebo, and was as good as Dramamine at doing so.
But the evidence for other popular herbal options was lacking. Cranberry, often used against urinary tract infections, a common occurrence in pregnancy, was found ineffective. There was no evidence that garlic helps with preeclampsia, or that raspberry leaf shortened labor. And while castor oil appears to be free of side effects, it has no ability to induce labor.”
Image: Ginger, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, December 6th, 2012
The Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton and the wife of England’s Prince William, left a London hospital Thursday after a 3-day stay to treat her hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare but severe form of morning sickness. More from The Hufffington Post:
“She exited the King Edward VII Hospital in London on Thursday with Prince William by her side (and quite color-coordinated with her husband, we must add), carrying a bouquet of yellow flowers and smiling for the paparazzi. According to the Telegraph, as she got into a waiting car with William, she was asked how she is feeling and replied, “I’m feeling much better, thank you.”
The Duchess of Cambridge was brought to the hospital on Monday to be treated for hyperemesis gravidarum, an acute form of morning sickness that will likely affect her throughout her pregnancy. The hospital visit, reports say, forced the hand of the royal family, compelling them to announce the duchess’ pregnancy less than 12 weeks in.”
Image: The Duchess of Cambridge, via Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
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