Monday, December 14, 2015

Praziquantel treatment safe for pregnant women after first trimester

A study by Rhode Island Hospital researchers confirmed that a drug used to treat a disease afflicting millions of people in developing countries is safe to give pregnant women following their first trimester. The finding could prove critical to the care of pregnant women and lactating women with schistosomiasis, a disease caused by a parasitic worm, who were denied the drug out of concern for their health and the health of their fetuses.

Authored by Jennifer F. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, director of clinical studies for the Center for International Health Research at Rhode Island Hospital, the study found that praziquantel does not lead to adverse events for the pregnant woman or her newborn. The study was published today in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

"Millions of women, many of whom are in a multi-year, cyclical pattern of pregnancy and breast-feeding, are denied praziquantel," said Friedman. "The accumulation of evidence shows that commencement of this treatment after the first trimester does not adversely affect the mother or fetus. We wanted to conduct this study to demonstrate that this drug is safe after the first trimester, and we remain hopeful that public health policies will change. Deferring treatment only exacerbates the morbidity of the patients."

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