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Flu drugs taken during pregnancy do not pose increased risk to newborns

There is no evidence to suggest an increased risk to newborns whose mothers take drugs to prevent or treat influenza during pregnancy, new study results suggest. 

There is no evidence to suggest an increased risk to newborns whose mothers take drugs to prevent or treat influenza during pregnancy, new study results suggest. 


Nearly 6,000 women were prescribed neuraminidase inhibitors during pregnancy. Picture: iStock

In the largest study to date to assess the potential risks of taking antiviral drugs (neuraminidase inhibitors) during pregnancy, researchers based in Scandinavia and France studied almost 6,000 women prescribed either of the two neuraminidase inhibitors oseltamivir or zanamivir during pregnancy. This was compared to almost 7,000 women who did not receive prescriptions during pregnancy between 2008-10. 

No association

After several health-related factors were taken into account, such as age, smoking and use of other medications, the researchers found no increased risks of adverse outcomes, including low birth weight, low Apgar score (a test of a baby's condition at birth), preterm birth, stillbirth or birth defects. 

The study results 'support previously-reported findings that the use of neuraminidase inhibitors is not associated with increased risks of adverse fetal or neonatal outcomes,' the study authors said. 


Graner S et al (2017) Neuraminidase inhibitors during pregnancy and risk of adverse neonatal outcomes and congenital malformations: population based European register study. BMJ. doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j629 

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