A new study suggests that a popular anti-anxiety drug may be putting more than 1 million pregnant women at risk of miscarriage.
Taiwanese researchers studied more than 3 million pregnancies in 2 million women and found that 4.4 percent – or 136,130 – resulted in miscarriage.
They analyzed the medical histories of all the women studied, and found that women who were prescribed a class of medication called benzodiazepines – used to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia – had better health than those who were not. The chance of miscarriage was on average 70 percent higher among those who did not take the drug. Medicine pill.
Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are a group of sedative medications. The most well-known medications include Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin.
The researchers also noted that this increased risk persisted even when other co-confounding factors, such as the woman’s age and health, were taken into account.
Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are a group of medications used to treat insomnia, seizures, and anxiety disorders. The most well-known medications include Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin.
The scientists also said their findings highlight the need for health care professionals to ‘carefully balance the risk-benefit ratio when considering the use of benzodiazepines to treat psychiatric and sleep disorders during pregnancy.’
It is estimated that about 1.7 percent of pregnant women (about 1.2 million) are given these medications during the first trimester of their pregnancy – a number that has been increasing in recent years.
the study,published in journal JAMA Psychiatry,Abortions were observed in women exposed to benzos only before pregnancy, only during pregnancy, and during both time periods.
Longer-acting benzos – drugs that are processed more slowly in the body, such as Valium, increased the risk of miscarriage by 67 percent, while shorter-acting benzos like Versed showed a 66 percent increased risk.
The generic version of Xanax, alprazolam, showed the lowest risk association, at 39 percent.
When used during pregnancy, benzos can cross the barrier between the mother and the placenta, exposing the fetus to the drugs.
Researchers speculate that because of the role of benzodiazepines in the growth and development of cells, it is possible that exposure to benzodiazepines could cause fetal developmental abnormalities, which could ultimately lead to miscarriage.
While studies show an association between benzos and miscarriage, researchers cannot determine any direct link.
The investigators took into account underlying conditions that could cause miscarriage, but did not consider the effect of combining factors such as smoking and anxiety, for example.
This finding is noteworthy given the large number of pregnant women taking the drug.
A 2020 study found that the international prevalence of benzo use during pregnancy was 1.9 percent.
Meanwhile another 2019 study found that two percent of pregnant women received at least one benzodiazepine during pregnancy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that less than one in 100 women took a benzodiazepine or antipsychotic medication during pregnancy.
The CDC said researchers are not sure whether birth defects or pregnancy-related complications are linked to the drugs themselves or to the underlying mental conditions the drugs are used to treat.
And women who take these types of drugs are more likely to have other factors that can increase the chance of birth defects and pregnancy complications.
Studies on the effects of benzos on pregnancy and the fetus have yielded mixed results.
A 2022 study of more than 1.5 million children found that benzodiazepine exposure during pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in children.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a group of OB-GYN doctors that provides medical recommendations for health care professionals and patients, said studies show that most antidepressants, which may include benzos, are linked to an increased risk of birth defects. Do not increase the risk.
However, a 2020 study by researchers at Stanford University found that women who took benzos in the week before conceiving had a 50 percent higher risk of having an ectopic pregnancy – a pregnancy that develops outside the uterus, which can interfere with the fetus and mother. It is fatal for both.
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