Popular Arthritis Drugs Associated With Miscarriage Risk

Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during pregnancy does not seem to increase the risk of adverse birth outcome (congenital abnormality, low birth weight, or preterm birth) but is associated with increased risk of miscarriage, according to a study in last week’s British Medical Journal.

NSAIDs are some of the most common prescription drugs for patients with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Since their introduction to the market, some concerns have been raised regarding side effects and safety issues.

In the latest study, researchers in Denmark investigated 1,462 pregnant women who had taken up prescriptions for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the period 30 days before conception to birth. They also compared 4,268 women who had miscarriages, of whom 63 had taken non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, with 29,750 women who had live births.

The investigators found no increased risk of adverse birth outcome in women who took up prescriptions for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but there was a strong positive association with miscarriage. However, no firm conclusions as to whether this association is causal or due to other confounding factors could be drawn from the data, add the authors.

Knowledge on the safety of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs while pregnant is limited, say the authors. Our observation of an increased risk of miscarriage in women exposed to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is new and needs to be confirmed, conclude the authors.

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