Herbs and Helpers ®

Herbal Services and Solutions | Herbalist | Supplier | Herbs

   Aug 16

Miriam Stoppard column Golden rule for drugs in pregnancy: Consult your doctor before taking ANY medication or herbal products

I well remember the thalidomide disaster of the early 1960s.

I was a junior hospital doctor and all my colleagues were giving their patients this new sleeping pill to ensure a good night’s rest.

I was saved from following suit by the wise old professor I worked for.

He saw my entry on a patient’s treatment sheet and questioned it.

“But all the junior doctors are prescribing it,” I answered.

Had I read a proper report about it in the British Medical Journal? I hadn’t.

Never prescribe a drug until you do, he warned – a rule I followed for the rest of my clinical career.

Since then, pregnancy problems have been linked to many medicines – prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies and even some vitamins.

In the past 30 years, the use of prescription drugs during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when all the vital foetal organs are forming, has grown by more than 60%.

About nine out of 10 pregnant women take at least one medicine, and seven out of 10 take at least one prescription drug.

Since the late 1970s, the number of pregnant women taking four or more medications has more than doubled.

What really scares me is the fact that nearly one woman in 10 takes a herbal remedy during the first trimester when we know virtually nothing about their effects on the unborn baby.

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration estimates that 10% or more of birth defects result from medications taken during pregnancy.

Something else that scares me is that more women use the internet to check if a medicine is safe for an unborn baby.

But a study, published online last month in a journal of drug safety, found glaring inconsistencies and sometimes false reassurances on 25 websites.

The report concluded that among medications approved for use in the USA from 2000 to 2010, 80% had no published data, which assessed the risk to cause birth defects and 98% had insufficient data to explain such a risk.

But that didn’t stop 25 websites from describing 245 medications as “safe” for use by pregnant women.

And websites contradicted each other.

The study found 22 of the products listed as safe by one or more sites were labelled unsafe by one or more of the other sites.

The golden rule for pregnant women is to consult their doctors before starting or stopping a medication and to take no over-the-counter or herbal products during the first three months of pregnancy.

Source: The Mirror

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.