May Health News: Zofran in Pregnancy, Home Birth after Previous C-Section, Inappropriate Use of Antibiotics

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May 22, 2016

Zofran (Ondansetron): No Link to Fetal Malformation 

A recent study by Dr. Marlena Fejzo of UCLA, published in the Journal of Reproductive Toxicology, did not find a link between Zofran intake during pregnancy and birth defects, in contrast to previous studies.  Earlier studies led the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology to caution their specialists about Zofran use during pregnancy.  GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Zofran, has been facing more than 200 lawsuits for possible birth defects such as cleft palates or cardiac malformation. 

The study from UCLA involved 1,286 infants whose mothers did not have morning sickness and 952 infants whose mothers took Zofran for severe morning sickness. The researchers in this study postulated that maybe the history of severe morning sickness itself was associated with an increased risk of birth defects, not Zofran consumption.

Home Birth After Previous Cesarean Section Linked to Serious Complications

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical Center in NYC reported a ten-fold increased risk of serious neurological dysfunction or seizure disorder in infants born at home in mothers with history of previous cesarean section.  These births were attended by midwives.

The researchers, Drs. Grunebaum and Chervenak, analyzed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) birth certificate from 2007-2013,  examining a total of 4,544 planned midwife-assisted home births and 2,404,505 hospital births.  Their data were presented at the 2016 Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine.  They advise obstetricians to discourage their patients with history of cesarean section to have home birth.

 Antibiotic Prescriptions in the US, One-Third Inappropriate 

A study conducted by Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that almost one-third of the antibiotics prescribed in the United States aren’t appropriate for the medical conditions presented by the patients.  The researchers analyzed 184,032 outpatient visits to national medical centers, from 2010-2011.  Of those visits, 12.6% ended up with antibiotic prescriptions.

The researchers found that of the 221 antibiotic prescriptions prescribed for 1,000 people with acute respiratory conditions, only 111 seemed appropriate for these medical conditions.  Among all conditions leading to antibiotic prescriptions, which were found to be 506 cases per 1,000 patients, 353 were deemed to be appropriate. 

As it’s widely known, inappropriate use of antibiotics can lead to many severe public health concerns including unnecessary deaths and emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

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