Women who use benzodiazepines, such as Valium or Xanax, before pregnancy may be at higher risk for ectopic pregnancy, a new study has found.
An ectopic pregnancy, or fallopian, is a pregnancy in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, often in the fallopian tubes, and it is a life-threatening event. The egg must be removed with medicine or surgery. Benzodiazepines, sold by prescription under several brand names, are widely prescribed for anxiety, sleep problems and seizures.
That learning, in Human Reproduction, using an insurance database of 1,691,366 pregnancies to track benzodiazepine prescriptions in the 90 days before conception. Nearly 18,000 of the women have used drugs, and scientists calculate that these women are 47 percent more likely to have a tubal pregnancy than those who don’t.
This study controls other risks for tubal pregnancy, including sexually transmitted infections, pelvic infections, use of contraceptives, smoking and fertility treatments.
“Women planning a pregnancy using these drugs should talk to their care provider to see if changes in treatment are possible, and then slowly change their treatment before turning off their contraception,” said lead author Elizabeth Wall-Wieler, a postdoctoral . fellow at Stanford University. “Women who have no alternative, or who have an unplanned pregnancy, must inform their service provider, and the pregnancy must be carefully monitored. The key to treating an ectopic pregnancy is to treat it early. “
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