A new study suggests that women pregnant with a group of drugs commonly prescribed for depression or insomnia may be at increased risk.
Canadian studies have looked into the findings of more than sixty thousand earliest childhood pregnancies and found that women in JAMA psychiatry are almost twice as likely to miscarry benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazem (Valium), and clonozepam (Klonopin).
The study lead author, Anick Berard, a psychologist and research chair on drugs, childbirth and lactation at the University of Montreal, said that “Anxiety and mood disorders need to be treated during pregnancy.”
Ben-diazepine is a medication which has been found to penetrate placenta and is associated with certain birth defects, Berard’s team states. “Because of the high prevalence of anxiety and mood disorders in pregnancies, physicians should assess the risk and benefits of using benzodiazepines, provided that there is an alternative nonpharmacological remedy.”
In previous studies, however, it was not clear whether all variants of these medicines were subject to the same risk, which also associated the drugs with error.
Berard and her colleagues turned to the Quebec Childbirth Cohort, which included data on 442,066 births in order to assess the impacts on childbirth of different benzodezepines and the various forms of the drug that are of long or short length.
161,454 women, of which 27,149 had experienced miscarriage and 134,305, were born into the control groups, were included in their analysis.
Women who have experienced epilepsy, previous use of benzodiazepines, and/or exposures to fetal toxic substances were excluded. Women whose loss of pregnancy happened six weeks or 19 weeks ago were also excluded.
Benzodiazepines were used in early pregnancy by 375 or 1.4 percent of those with a miscarriage. Benzodiazepines had been used by 788, or 0.6%, of the women who delivered successfully.
Based on such factors as pre-pregnancy diagnosed mood and anxiety, antidepressants and antipsychotic drug use, the researchers found that women who used benzodiazepines at an early age were 1,85 times as likely to be in error as women who did not use the medicine.
An growing risk of miscarriage occurred in every form of drug. The growth varies from 1.13 times that of non-users for flurazepam to 3.43 times that of non-users for diazepam, varying by the specific use of benzodiazepines.
The authors noted that most women used the drugs only approximately two weeks.
How can these medicines affect pregnancy?
Source said in an Email, “Benzodiazepines are the components of anxiolytics and signaling.
Source, the director of the women’s mental health program on obstetrics and gynecology at the Columbia Irving Medical Center New York City, said: “They are thought to damage binding and implants when used during early pregnancy.”
The new study was done carefully and it is “private.”
“Far too often, benzodiazepines are prescribed by primary care providers or by obstetricians rather than referred to mental health providers in order to evaluate and engage in the myriad of non-medicinal tools with strong evidence for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia,” Source said in an Email.
The new study was welcomed by Dr. Priya Gopalan. Source, Chief of Psychiatry at Magee-Womens Hospital in Medical Center University, said “The literature on benzodiazepines in childbirth is quite limited compared to antidepressant literature.”
Although the analysis may be restricted due to possible conflicting variables, it should “be careful,” Source said.
This indicates that doctors should first try other therapies like psychotherapy, Source said. Source said.
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