NSAID Use in Early Pregnancy Can Increase Miscarriage Risk

By Paulnasca (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A woman’s risk of miscarriage is 2.4 times higher if they took any type or dose of non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications during early pregnancy. The information was discovered in a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The Study:

NSAIDs are a class of medications which include ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib and diclofenac. These drugs are very common and often used during early pregnancy. However, there are medical concerns about women using these medications during pregnancy, although studies done on the topic have been inconsistent.

A research team from the University of Montreal hosted a study that looked at determining the risks of miscarriage associated with each particular type and dose of NSAIDs. The team looked at 4,705 miscarriages up to the 20th week of gestation. Of these cases, 352 women said they had taken an NSAID. Of the 4,705 women in the control group, 1213 had been exposed to NSAIDs. The information was compiled from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry, which provides data on filled prescriptions, doctor’s visits and hospitalizations during pregnancy.

The women in the study were ages 15 to 45 years old and were insured by the Reigie de l’Assurance Maladie du Quebec for their prescription medications for at least 12-months prior to and during their pregnancy.

Ibuprofen is the only NSAID that is available to the public over-the-counter in Quebec, and women in the drug plan can have it prescribed via prescription. Naproxen was the most commonly used NSAID, followed next by ibuprofen.

Dr. Anick Berard, from the University of Montreal, states, “The use of nonaspirin NSAIDs during early pregnancy is associated with statistically significant risk (2.4-fold increase) of having a spontaneous abortion.” She further stated, “We consistently saw that the risk of having a spontaneous abortion was associated with gestational use of diclofenac, naproxen, celecoxib, ibuprofen and rofecoxib alone or in combination, suggesting a class effect.”

The greatest risk was attributed to diclofenac alone and the lowest risk was those who used rofecoxib. However, the dosage of NSAIDs did not appear to increase the risks of miscarriage.

These findings are consistent with numerous other studies with regards to NSAIDs type and dose.

Conclusion to the Study:

The study authors conclude, “Given that the use of nonaspirin NSAIDs during early pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of major congenital malformations and that our results suggest a class effect on the risk of clinically detected spontaneous abortion, nonaspirin NSAIDs should be used with caution during pregnancy.”


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