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Heartburn drugs not risky during pregnancy

No significant differences were found in birth defects among the women who took PPIs compared with the women who didn't.

Heartburn drugs not risky during pregnancy

While heartburn in pregnancy is common, doctors are often reluctant to prescribe medications called proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) because of worries that the drugs may not be safe to the growing babies.  But a new study from Denmark finds doctors and their pregnant patient have little reason to be concerned: overall, the drugs don't appear to raise the risk of birth defects.

Danish researchers looked at nearly 841,000 births in Denmark who got registered with national databases, from 1996 to 2008. In about 5,000 cases, the mothers had taken PPIs at some time during the four weeks prior to pregnancy through their first trimester. 
No significant differences were found in birth defects among the women who took PPIs compared with the women who didn't.

Overall, 3.4 percent of babies whose mothers had taken the drugs had a major birth defect, compared to 2.6 percent of the babies not exposed. Women who had taken the medications before they got pregnant did appear to be at risk for having a baby with birth defects. In fact, those who had taken a PPI during the fourth week prior to pregnancy (with the notable exception of Prilosec, which contains omeprazole) showed higher risk of major birth defects of 40 percent.

Though the study offers reassurance that, as a group, PPIs don't increase the overall risk of birth defects, it wasn't large enough to rule out an effect of individual drugs on specific birth defects, such as cleft lip.
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