When It Comes To Medication And Pregnancy, Both Doctors And Patients Left Playing Guessing Game
There's very little research on how medication as common as drugs to control high-blood pressure affects the pregnant body. Women are left confused and floundering about what is safe for them to take. But, that might finally be changing.
Pregnant Women Who Need Medications Face A Risky Guessing Game
Congress last year created a task force through the National Institutes of Health to study why so few women can get reliable answers on medication use during pregnancy — and to recommend solutions. Members have been holding public meetings and reviewing the women’s comments. Experts say it’s long overdue. Few drugs have been approved as safe and effective to use during pregnancy, and most of those are for conditions specific to pregnancy. As a result, almost every medicine given to a pregnant woman, from prescription antacids for acid reflux to biologic drugs to prevent epileptic seizures, is considered an off-label use. Some doctors even take women off medications as basic and important as those that help control blood pressure, because there’s no way of knowing if they’re safe. (Thielking, 12/5)
5 Ways To Improve Research On Medication Use During Pregnancy
For decades, it’s been taboo to test medications on pregnant women. But doctors, patients, and public health officials are increasingly arguing that it’s unethical not to include them in research. So new ideas for changing the research culture are emerging. Doctors, ethicists, and drug industry leaders laid out several concrete suggestions for addressing the problem in interviews with STAT and in presentations to a federal task force studying the issue. (Thielking, 12/5)
In other maternal health news —
New Maternal Mortality Strategy Relies On 'Medical Homes'
The medical homes provide the most advanced obstetrical care, but they also seek to alleviate nonmedical circumstances that could put mother and child in jeopardy, such as addiction, domestic abuse and a lack of secure housing and healthy food. North Carolina’s program is the only statewide pregnancy medical home model in the country. Among developed nations, the United States ranks last in maternal mortality and infant mortality, largely because of its high rate of untreated chronic disease and a decline in access to obstetrical care, particularly in rural areas. (Ollove, 12/5)