It is common for expectant parents to experience morning sickness, especially during the first trimester. That is why it is good to know that there are medications to help fight nausea and / or vomiting that can occur at any time of the day.
But according to Canadian researchers, Diclectin (pyridoxine-doxylamine), the most commonly prescribed medication for morning sickness, may not be effective.
Dr. Nav Persaud, a researcher and family doctor at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, reanalyzed data from a paid clinical trial in 2010 and discovered that the drug did not meet the standards of effectiveness.
The two-week study compared 101 women who were prescribed the medication to 86 women who received a placebo. It was found that the women who took the medication only experienced a reduction of symptoms of 0.7 points, on a scale of 13 points, more than those who took the placebo.
Persaud noted on Wednesday that there needed to be a reduction of at least three points in the Diclectin symptoms to be proven effective, National Post reports.
"There was a very small difference between the women who received a placebo and the women who received this medication," Persaud said, according to HealthDay.
"I believe that drugs should only be approved and prescribed if they are shown to be effective," he added. "If the medication is not effective, it does not matter if it is safe or not."
CBC News reports that Diclectin is prescribed 300,000 times per year by Canadian physicians. The medication is recommended so often that even Persaud admitted in the news that "he had routinely prescribed the medication without thinking."
It was not until one of his patients asked him if Diclectin would really help with the nausea of pregnancy. that the Toronto doctor started investigating the data.
Persaud and four other researchers obtained 9,000 pages of Health Canada documents on Diclectin and published their analysis in the PLOS ONE journal on Wednesday. In the journal, they conclude that Diclectin has no "clinically important benefit" when it comes to relieving symptoms of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.
"It is quite likely that the women who took this medication when they were prescribed … were improving due to the natural course of nausea and vomiting, and their improvement probably had nothing to do with the medication," said Persaud.
According to Baby Center Canada, morning sickness usually begins around week five to six of pregnancy and continues until around week 14. However, some women may still have symptoms beyond that time .
Diclectin is the only prescription medication authorized by Health Canada to treat morning sickness, reports CTV News. As a result, Persaud says he believes the government agency should reconsider its position on the drug.
In a statement to CTV News, however, Health Canada said: "The available evidence continues to support Diclectin in the treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy."
The last time the agency reviewed the data about Diclectin was in 2016. "No new safety or efficacy issues were identified as part of the review," said a spokesperson.
Anyway, Persaud told CBC News: "I have stopped prescribing this medication completely, I do not think it should be prescribed, I do not think patients will take it."
Medication is not the only way to relieve nausea and vomiting in the first trimester. In December, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists observed that home remedies such as ginger, vitamin B6 and acupuncture could help relieve symptoms.
Ginger is believed to be effective, since it is known that superfood relieves stomachs and nausea. In fact, last year it was revealed that the Duchess of Cambridge eats gingerbread cookies to combat hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which is a severe form of morning sickness.
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