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19 September 2013
Antihistamines during pregnancy given a cautious thumbs-up

Antihistamines are medications that are used to treat conditions including hay fever, allergies, and nausea. Previously, little information was available to women on the possible risks and relative safety of antihistamines in pregnancy. Now, a new study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice outlines the risks from both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription antihistamines used by women during pregnancy.

In the new study, the researchers considered antihistamines that had been suggested in earlier studies to increase risks of certain defects, and they also considered other possible risks that might not have been identified in the past.

The researchers say they found no evidence to support suggestions of risk that had been found in earlier studies. In considering possible risks that had not been identified by others, the investigators found very few suggestions that any given medicine might be linked to an increase risk of a specific birth defect.

"We were fortunate that our study was able to consider commonly-used antihistamines that were available OTC as well as those available only with a prescription. While our findings provide reassurance about the relative safety of many of these medications in relation to a number of common birth defects, more information is needed. As is the case for all types of medications, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should consult with their health care provider before taking any medicines, whether they are prescribed or OTC," concluded researcher Allen Mitchell, from Boston University.

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Source: Boston University Medical Center

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