Heartburn medications safe in pregnancy?

Drugs taken in pregnancy to ease heartburn do not increase the risk of birth defects, according to new study

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Heartburn drugs, prescribed to mums-to-be for severe heartburn between 1996 and 2008, have been found to cause no increased risk of birth defects. A new study in Denmark looked at a type of drug known as PPIs that contain omeprazole, lansoprazole and esomeprazole.

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Although experts still recommend taking as few drugs as possible in pregnancy, the study is reassuring to those who need the medication. Of the 841,000 babies studied, 2% were exposed and the proportion of birth defects in this small group was no different to those who were not exposed to the drugs.

However, the study did discover that there was a 39% increased risk of defects if the mum had taken the drugs in the month before she conceived but this could also be connected to the condition for which the drugs were prescribed.

Ultimately, however, experts are still hedging their bets. “All you can say is that the probability is that it is safe,” said Dr Michael Katz. “The balance in pragmatic terms is how important is it to treat the symptoms that any drug is designed to treat versus the safety of pregnancy. That’s a very difficult decision to make.”

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If you’re suffering, here’s some tips to cool the burning sensation.

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