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What is the purpose of Duvadilan Retard and ASA during pregnancy?

Q: I am 30 years old and have completed 16 weeks of pregnancy. During my first pregnancy, I had a missed abortion in the sixth week. After that I delivered a baby boy, who is now 3.5 years old. My gynaecologist prescribed Duvadilan Retard, which my earlier doctor had given me in my eighth month during my first pregnancy. Is it advisable to take this medicine at an early stage? What is the purpose of taking this medicine? I have also being prescribed Acetyle Salicylic Acid (ASA), what is the purpose of this drug? The above-mentioned drugs were not given to me in my earlier pregnancy; therefore I have certain doubts about them. Please advise.

A:Duvadilan Retard is the brand name of a medicine called isoxsuprine. It has many actions on many organs. Among others, it relaxes the muscles of the uterus. In the past this medicine was used to stop pre-term delivery. An injection was given if the labour started ahead of 34 weeks followed by tablets. However it has no preventive role. In other words it should only be used if pre-term labour has already started. Babies born to women who were taking isoxsuprine have suffered from ileus (slow movement of intestine resulting in constipation, bloating and pain), respiratory distress and hypocalcaemia (low calcium levels in blood). Even for pre-term delivery, safer agents such as salbutamol and ritodrine are used but like isoxsuprine they have no prophylatic use. Acetyl Salicylic Acid is another name of aspirin. It is claimed to delay labour and prolong pregnancy. However firm, scientific evidence in support of this theory is lacking. Another reason for giving aspirin is pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. However it can cause bleeding disorders in infants born to mothers who take aspirin. It is not clear as to why you were given Duvadilan Retard during your previous pregnancy unless labour had actually started before 34 weeks. The golden principle is: least medication during pregnancy. Medcines to be given only when clearly indicated.

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