Startling study links miscarriages to a common yeast infection med

Apr 27, 2016 at 11:50 p.m. ET
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Pay close attention if you're newly pregnant — or about to get pregnant — and suffer from yeast infections.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning advising doctors not to prescribe the common yeast infection medication fluconazole to pregnant women because of miscarriage risk.

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According to a Danish study published in January in JAMA, women who took the oral med in the first 22 weeks of pregnancy had a much higher chance of miscarriage than women who didn't. The study — conducted by researchers at the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, examined medical histories of 1.4 million pregnancies over 17 years and found that of the 3,300 women who took fluconazole — known commercially as Diflucan — 150 suffered miscarriages

This isn't the first time the FDA has advised against taking the medicine, but the previous warning was due to a link between high daily doses (between 400 and 800 milligrams) and a rare set of birth defects. But what's scary is that the amount linked to miscarriages in the Danish study showed that it happened in women who took a commonly prescribed daily dose (150 milligrams).

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"Until F.D.A.’s review is complete and more is understood about this study and other available data, we advise cautious prescribing of oral fluconazole in pregnancy,” Lyndsay Meyer, a spokeswoman for the FDA, told The New York Times.

So, do pregnant women just have to deal with the constant itching and pain that comes with yeast infections? Thankfully, no: Topical azole products are recommended for pregnant women by the Centers for Disease Control.

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