Popular FDA-approved morning sickness drug barely has any effect on pregnant women, study finds

The morning sickness drug Diclegis may not be as effective as previously thought, a study published in the journal PLOS ONE revealed. The researchers discussed that the drug, which received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013, did not fare better than a placebo pill in improving symptoms of morning sickness in pregnant women.

A team of health experts at the St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada pooled data from a 2010 clinical trial in order to assess the drug’s efficacy. Data from a 13-point scale trial revealed that patients who took the drug exhibited symptom declines that were only 0.7 points greater compared with those who took a placebo pill. Lead researcher Dr. Nav Persaud stressed that the difference did not show statistical significance.

“One of the most important things about this study is that it explains exactly why many women who have taken this medication would believe that it works and many of the physicians who have prescribed it would believe that it works. When you look at the symptom scores for women who are given a placebo, they start around 9 on the first day of the study, and by two weeks later, the symptom score is 4 out of 13, and a minimum score on that scale is 3, which would indicate no symptoms,” Dr. Persaud said in a Health Line entry.

According to Dr. Persaud, the possible explanation to this was that the patients’ nausea and vomiting might have been self-limited and could have been relieved without even resorting to medical intervention. The expert also noted that it was highly unlikely that the drug will be pulled out from the market, as product recalls only apply to potentially dangerous drugs and not to seemingly ineffective treatment.  Dr. Persaud added that patients should consult their health care providers about effective morning sickness treatments.

Fend off morning sickness with these natural remedies and methods

Health experts and mothers alike would agree that morning sickness, while relatively as common as colds, may still bring utmost discomfort in pregnant women. A number of natural, drug-free methods were known to effectively keep morning sickness at bay. Here are a few steps in avoiding the onset of morning sickness. (Related: Morning Sickness: 10 Natural and Simple Tips to Avoid the Nausea.)

  • Lie down and catch some sleep — One of the most simple solutions to morning sickness is to ease tension by lying down and taking a few deep breaths. Maintaining adequate sleep may also mitigate the condition. Health experts explain that sleep gives the body its much needed rest.
  • Take herbal teas and soothing spices — An entry posted on the Best Health Mag website revealed that drinking ginger tea may help alleviate motion sickness, while both peppermint and lemon balm tea may ease nausea. Likewise, soothing spices such as anise and fennel seeds are known to relieve upset stomach.
  • Stay satiated and hydrated — The article also revealed that women who drank more water reported fewer bouts of morning sickness. The entry added that eating something before getting out of bed may help prevent morning sickness. The article suggested keeping a few crackers and eating them as soon as the patient wakes up.
  • Sniff refreshing scents — Experts stressed that unpleasant odors drive morning sickness. “Estrogen is the hormone that’s responsible for the sense of smell, and if you’re a high estrogen hormone person — like when you’re pregnant — you have the radar nose of pregnancy. Ugly smells, smells you can’t get away from, and potent smells will make you nauseous,” Miriam Erick, a senior dietitian and nutritionist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said in Parents.com article. The article suggested sniffing refreshing scents such as citrus fruits in order to drown out any foul odor.

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