Study: No birth defect risk seen with pregnancy malaria drug

February 23rd, 2011 - 2:40 am ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

London, Feb 22 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Researchers of a new study claim that taking the anti-malaria drug, Malarone, during the first trimester might not increase the chances of birth defect.

Malaria drugs are generally not prescribed for pregnant women. It is a huge problem because pregnant women in malaria prone areas are left in the grey area.

The researchers wanted to find how safe it is for pregnant women to take atovaquone-proguanil in the first trimester. They examined the data on almost 571,000 child births in Denmark. Denmark has significant level of birth defects with as much as 3 percent of babies born with defect.

The data that was studied were between 2000 and 2008. From the analysis, it was found that 149 of the pregnant women took Malarone during their pregnancy. Out of the numbers that used the drug, only 1 in 100 had birth defect.

The researchers are thrilled by the findings but they warn that the numbers that took the drugs were still too small for any valid conclusions to be drawn.

The leader of the researchers, Dr. Bjorn Pasternak, of Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen told reporters that, “We believe it is far too soon to declare this drug to be safe for use in pregnancy.”

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