This drug is linked to miscarriage risks during pregnancy

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A recent study, shared online on December 27 in JAMA Psychiatry, reveals a concerning link between the use of benzodiazepines during pregnancy and the increased risk of miscarriage.

This research adds a crucial piece of information for expecting mothers and healthcare providers.

The study was led by Lin-Chieh Meng and his team from the National Taiwan University in Taipei. They conducted a thorough analysis using data from a large-scale, national study that spanned from 2004 to 2018.

This study was unique in its approach – it was a case-time-control study, which is a special way to look at how certain factors influence health outcomes over time.

They focused on pregnancies that ended in miscarriage and compared them with others during the same time period. To make their comparison fair, they matched these two groups based on various factors like disease risk.

The scale of this study was quite large – involving over 3 million pregnancies among almost 2 million women. Of these pregnancies, 4.4% ended in miscarriage.

What did they find? Well, after adjusting for various factors that could affect the outcome (these are called ‘confounders’), they noticed that using benzodiazepines during pregnancy increased the risk of miscarriage.

To be precise, the odds of having a miscarriage were 69% higher for those who used these drugs compared to those who didn’t.

And this wasn’t a one-off finding – the team did several checks (called sensitivity analyses) to make sure their results were reliable.

These checks looked at different time periods and even considered the possibility of errors in classifying who used benzodiazepines and who didn’t. Across all these checks, the results consistently pointed to an increased risk.

The study also looked at specific types of benzodiazepines, like alprazolam and fludiazepam. They found that the risk of miscarriage varied depending on the specific drug, with the risk increase ranging from 39% to 152% for these two drugs.

What does this mean for expecting mothers and doctors? The researchers suggest that there needs to be a lot of caution when considering benzodiazepines for pregnant women, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.

This study provides important information that can help doctors make better decisions when treating pregnant women with psychiatric and sleep disorders.

In conclusion, this research highlights a critical health concern for pregnant women. It shows that the use of benzodiazepines during pregnancy, a common treatment for anxiety and sleep disorders, might need to be reconsidered due to the associated increased risk of miscarriage.

This finding is crucial for healthcare professionals in guiding their treatment choices and for expecting mothers in making informed decisions about their health and that of their unborn child.

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The research findings can be found in JAMA Psychiatry.

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