Pregnancy, even if these modern times, still poses many risks to mother and child — things like diabetes or any kind of infection can cause a miscarriage, for example, but a new Canadian research study reveals a shocking possibility: by simply taking a common, popular pain pill for a headache, a pregnant woman may miscarry her child – specifically, the mother is twice as likely to miscarry her baby in the early stages of the pregnancy if she takes any one of a number of widely known non-aspirin painkillers, i.e., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).
What are NSAIDs?
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories include over the counter painkillers like ibuprofen (aka Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) as well as those available only by prescription such as diclofenac, celecoxib (Celebrex) and rofecoxib (Vioxx). All of these NSAIDs were part of the Canadian research study. It seems that the NSAIDs that a pregnant woman can buy at the grocery store may be just as risky as the NSAID that comes only through a doctor’s prescription.
Important to note: Vioxx is not sold in the United States now; Vioxx has already been determined to be dangerous, and has been the subject of many personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits across the country.
What does the study reveal?
The research study was done at the University of Montreal and it’s getting lots of media interest. Seems the study looked into the histories of 52,000+ pregnant women and discovered that for those mothers who had NSAID prescriptions and took the painkillers during their first few months of being pregnant (through 20 weeks), they were TWO TIMES as likely to have a miscarriage as the mothers who did not take the painkillers.
Specifically, the researchers report that “…the use of nonaspirin NSAIDs during pregnancy was significantly associated with the risk of spontaneous abortion … [s]pecifically, use of diclofenac (OR 3.09, 95% CI 1.96–4.87), naproxen (OR 2.64, 95% CI 2.13–3.28), celecoxib (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.42–3.45), ibuprofen (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.61–2.96) and rofecoxib (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.24–2.70) alone, and combinations thereof (OR 2.64, 95% CI 1.59–4.39), were all associated with increased risk of spontaneous abortion.”
Time Magazine, in covering the story, has pointed out that there are other research studies that jive with the new Canadian study, also finding links between miscarriages and taking NSAIDs.
How Safe are NSAIDs? What Happens Now?
The dangers of NSAIDs are still not clear. It was just a few years back when Vioxx and Bextra were on the market and the FDA was requiring more detailed labels be placed on all NSAID products (see details here). Today, people taking any NSAID are warned that they can cause ulcers or worse (like liver damage), and anyone with any heart condition should be wary of taking these kinds of painkillers. Just pick up one of these products and read all those words — the labels have to be extra long just to get all those warnings on the bottle (or box).
It’s not debatable at this point that Americans taking these common painkillers can suffer serious injury or death — the new Canadian study is only expanding the list of potential risks that are connected to these very very popular (and profitable) products.
These studies only serve to warn, that’s all. It is only through government regulation and private lawsuits based upon product liability and wrongful death laws that these kinds of dangers can be addressed. Products where the manufacturers must be held accountable for putting profits over people if their products seriously injure or kill someone.