Women were warned by researchers yesterday that taking aspirin during early pregnancy could trigger miscarriage. This claim shocked doctors prescribing low-dose aspiring to keep expectant mothers from losing their babies.
Humble aspirin has been a staple of every medicine cabinet and has proven to be a remarkable painkiller drug for many years. It is widely taken by people with cardiovascular disease and at risk of stroke because of its ability to lessen the risk of blood clots. Most recent research published in The Lancet even found that a five year daily low-dose of aspirin could cut cancer death risk by 37 percent because it stops the cancer cells from spreading. It could even ward off colon and breast cancer.
However, according to the Danish study published today in the British Medical Journal, the rate risk in miscarriage for pregnant women taking aspirin or other painkillers in early pregnancy could be seven times higher compared to those not taking the drugs. And, they warned these findings should be treated with caution.
The link between aspirin and miscarriage is fairly new and needs to be confirmed and treated with understanding. Last night, British experts said that this should not cause distress to expectant mothers and asked them to consult their healthcare provider about the painkillers to take.
On January 6, 2013, Mail Online reported a story about Nurse Dawn Paddock who suffered tragic miscarriages until she was diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome. She was prescribed with Heparin, a blood thinning drug and aspirin. Mrs. Paddock now calls for all women to be tested for antiphospholipid syndrome, a blood clotting syndrome also known as Hughes syndrome or sticky blood that can result to stillbirth and miscarriage.
Consultant Gynaecologist Clive Spence-Jones, of London’s Whittington Hospital said that it is unnecessary to take aspirin during a normal pregnancy and it is important not to self medicate. Aspirin was recommended for women like Mrs. Paddock because of abnormal clotting which stops the blood flow through the placenta. Antiphospholipid syndrome accounts to one in five cases of recurring miscarriage and a combination of aspirin and heparin can reduce the miscarriage risk by 50 percent in women with Hughes Syndrome.
Dr. Gunnar Nielsen and his team of researchers scrutinized the medical records of 1,462 pregnant women prescribed NSAID from 30 days before conception to birth and compared 4,268 women who had miscarriages whom 63 had taken aspirin with 29,750 women who had live births. Although such a drug had been suspected of causing health problems, no low birth weight, increased birth defects, or premature births were seen. Then again, an extra risk of miscarriage emerged from the data in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy which doubles the risk of those taking aspirin between seven to nine weeks before a miscarriage.
Professor Phil Baker, professor of foetal and neonatal health for Tommy’s Campaign, which funds medical research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth said NSAID painkillers should be used with caution during pregnancy.’If a pregnant women needs a mild analgesic or painkiller then paracetamol is a relatively safe drug,’ he said.
Professor Baker said his research did not undermine previous studies that have proved low-dose aspirin can help women who suffer miscarriages.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggests that while the report had not shown that aspirin could trigger miscarriage in early pregnancy, it is linked with it. Therefore women who know they are pregnant should avoid these drugs.
Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas