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NSAIDs and the risk of miscarriage

NSAIDs and the risk of miscarriage
The New Zealand Self Medication Industry (SMI) today commented on a nested case-control study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal[1]. The study included 4705 women who had experienced a spontaneous abortion and 47,050 matched controls.

The authors of the study found that the use of non-aspirin NSAIDs taken during early pregnancy was associated with a statistically significant risk (2.4 fold increase) of having a miscarriage and concluded that non-aspirin NSAIDs should be used with caution during pregnancy.

SMI executive director, Tim Roper noted that the risks associated with NSAID use during pregnancy were already known and that over the counter NSAIDs available in New Zealand (such as diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen) already carried mandatory label warnings as a result. These warnings instruct consumers that the products are only to be used in the first 6 months of pregnancy on a doctor’s advice, and that the products were not to be used at all during the last 3 months of pregnancy.

“Although the study had some limitations, it provides additional information about a known topic and will be of use to healthcare professionals in assessing the risks and benefits of NSAID use during pregnancy,” says Mr Roper.

Mr Roper noted that the case-control design of the study meant that although the authors found the association described above, they were unable to show a cause and effect relationship between the use of non-aspirin NSAIDs and miscarriage. Also the exposure data in the study was based on filled prescriptions rather than actual medication use.

“Despite this, the study provides an opportunity to remind consumers that NSAIDs, like all other medicines, should only be used during pregnancy on the advice of a healthcare professional.”

Consumers should always read the label carefully and follow the directions and warnings. Significant care has been taken with the labelling of these medications and it is important that consumers follow the instructions.

Consumers should discuss their use of NSAIDs with their doctor or pharmacist if they have any concerns.

Over the counter NSAIDs are safe and effective for the temporary relief of pain and inflammation.


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