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A morning sickness drug pulled from U.S. shelves 30 years ago is getting a second chance. A new version of the pill called Bendectin has been OK'd by the Food and Drug Administration as the only drug designated to treat morning sickness, reports The Associated Press and The New York Times.
Diclegis — formerly known as Bendectin — is returning to U.S. pharmacies in June as a safe and effective treatment for morning sickness in pregnancy, The AP says.
The safety scare surrounding Bendectin led to hundreds of lawsuits claiming that the medication caused birth defects. However, the scare was debunked, according to The New York Times, because studies eventually concluded that Bendectin didn't increase the baseline risk for birth defects (the CDC estimates that 1 in 33 babies are born with birth defects regardless of medication use in pregnancy). An appeals court ruled in favor of Bendectin's maker, but the pharmaceutical company quit making the drug nonetheless in 1983.
"For all the names, the main ingredients are the same: Vitamin B6 plus the over-the-counter antihistamine doxylamine, which is found in the sleep aid Unisom. U.S. obstetricians have long told nauseated pregnant women how to mix up the right dose themselves," The AP reports. The article notes that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2004 called this combination "a first-line therapy" for morning sickness.
Diclegis, which will be available only by prescription, combines both ingredients "with a delayed-release coating designed to help women take a daily dose before nausea sets in," according to The AP.
"There's been a lot of buzz about this. Nothing better has come along," said Dr. Edward McCabe, medical director for the March of Dimes, as quoted by The AP. The March of Dimes is welcoming the treatment.
Symptoms of morning sickness usually fade away as your first trimester ends, but it's also not uncommon to feel nauseous throughout your entire pregnancy. Check out our tips to fight the queasies when you're expecting.
Also, remember that there is a silver lining to all of that early pregnancy throwing up. Read our The Upside of Morning Sickness page to find out how feeling queasy can keep you and your baby safe.