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Motherisk News: Pre-emptive treatment found effective in the prevention of severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy


October 14, 2004

Pre-emptive treatment found effective in the prevention of severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy

Researchers in the Motherisk Program at The Hospital for Sick Children (Motherisk) have shown that treatment for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), more commonly known as "morning sickness," before the appearance of symptoms can prevent severe NVP and hyperemesis gravidarum. This research is reported in the current issue of the Journal of Obstetric Gynaecology.

NVP affects 80% of pregnancies. Its severe form, hyperemesis gravidarum results in dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and hospitalization. In rare instances, hyperemesis can be fatal. The Motherisk study looked at 25 women who had severe NVP or hyperemesis in a previous pregnancy, and counseled them to take Diclectin, a safe and approved antiemetic, while planning their next pregnancy (before conception) or very early in the pregnancy before the appearance of NVP symptoms. The researchers then provided counseling throughout the pregnancy on how to modify the antiemetic dose based on NVP symptoms. The research objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of the pre-emptive approach to therapy.

The women in the study group were compared to a group of randomly selected women who also had severe NVP, but who did not call the Motherisk NVP Helpline for counseling before they conceived, and therefore could not be offered pre-emptive therapy.

"We found that the majority of the women in the study group experienced far less severe NVP symptoms during the index pregnancy, compared to their previous pregnancy. Symptoms among women in the comparison group remained severe in 80% of the cases," said Dr. Gideon Koren, the study's principal investigator, director of the Motherisk Program and a senior scientist in the Sick Kids Research Institute. "Motherisk hears from women around the world who had terrible NVP or had to be hospitalized for hyperemesis during pregnancy. Many tell us how scared they are about getting pregnant again, even though they would like to have another child. This study confirms that severe NVP can be prevented with pre-emptive treatment," said Dr. Koren.

The other member of the research team was Caroline Maltepe, an information specialist in NVP and bi-lingual (English-French) counselor on the Motherisk NVP Helpline (1-800-436-8477). Women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy can call toll-free from anywhere in North America to receive evidence-based information and counseling on how to deal with NVP and hyperemesis gravidarum.

For more information call the Motherisk NVP Helpline at 1-800-436-8477.

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