A recent study shows that women who take popular heartburn medicines while pregnant may bear children who are at a higher risk of having asthma.
It’s a common ‘problem’ of pregnancy for many mothers–heartburn. Often, doctors will prescribe to women drugs that will reduce the painful acid reflux they suffer from while pregnant. The most popular drugs are from various drug class that include Tagamet, Zantac, Prilosec, Nexium and Pepcid.
And while these drugs have been long-thought to be fairly safe for use during pregnancy, a new study conducted by researchers from The University of Edinburgh in the UK and the University of Tampere in Finland have found an association between the onset of asthma in children and their mother’s use of common antacids used while pregnant. Professor Aziz Sheikh, researcher and co-director of the Asthma UK Centre or Applied Research at the University of Edinburgh says that it’s important to stress that though there is an association, the research does not prove that the medicines caused asthma, and that more research needs to be conducted.
The study’s investigators analyzed eight studies that involved over 1.3 million and found that children born to mothers who had been prescribed antacids during their pregnancies were at least one-third more likely to have seen a doctor for symptoms of asthma. Professor Sheikh says that further research on these children would help better understand the connection.
Director of policy and research at Asthma UK Dr. Samantha Walker says that the findings of this research is very early in stage still and that expectant mothers should continue to follow the guidance of their doctors or nurses and take any medicines prescribed by them. Saying that there is no way to know if the heartburn medicine itself is the contributing factor of asthma development in children, or if there is a yet unknown factor, this study will point researchers toward things that need further investigation, and inspire more research into why over 5.4 million people in the UK alone have asthma.
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