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NSAIDs Won't Raise Miscarriage Risk: Study

However, NSAIDs should not be taken in third trimester of pregnancy, authors advise
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WebMD News from HealthDay

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Pain relievers from the class of medications known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) won't increase a pregnant woman's risk of miscarriage, according to a new study.

Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen (Aleve), didn't affect the risk of pregnancy loss, Israeli researchers found.

"We did not find an increased risk of miscarriage among women who took those drugs during the first trimester of pregnancy, although we did find an increased risk after the use of indomethacin," said lead author Dr. Sharon Daniel, a pediatric intern at Soroka Medical Center, in Beersheba, Israel.

Indomethacin, a prescription NSAID, was linked to a much higher rate of pregnancy loss, the study found. The prescription drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors, such as celecoxib (Celebrex), were associated with a slightly higher risk of miscarriage, the study found.

"NSAIDs are frequently and increasingly used by pregnant women both because the drugs are indicated for common symptoms like pain and fever, and because in the past two decades some of the drugs are sold over the counter, without the need for a medical prescription," said senior study author Amalia Levy, an epidemiologist and head of the department of public health at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba.

The findings should reassure women who've taken over-the-counter NSAIDs in early pregnancy, the authors said.

The study authors pointed out that indomethacin is often used as a treatment for preterm labor, and that many of the pregnancy losses associated with indomethacin occurred later in pregnancies. In addition, the average daily doses of indomethacin were higher than for other NSAIDs, according to the study.

As for the increased risk with Cox-2 inhibitors, the authors noted that because they had so few women taking these medications in their study, that their findings need to be confirmed in a larger study.

Results of the study were released online on Feb. 3 in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Miscarriage is a common occurrence in early pregnancy. About 15 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to study background information. Eighty percent of miscarriages occur before the 12th week of gestation, the study authors added.

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