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Apr 27, 2016 12:40 PM

FDA says oral drug to treat yeast infections may cause miscarriages

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that doctors should be careful when prescribing a drug to pregnant women used to treat yeast infections, believing that it may cause miscarriages.

The FDA has warned that chronic high doses of fluconazole (brand name for the drug Diflucan) might be linked to a "rare and distinct set of birth defects" in infants whose mothers took it during the first trimester of pregnancy. In several cases, the doses ranged from 400 to 800 milligrams a day.

It is estimated that 10 percent of women get yeast infections during pregnancy, a time when they are especially susceptible.

According to the New York Times, a study conducted by researchers at the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, looked at more than 1.4 million pregnancies over a 17-year span in Denmark. Among the roughly 3,300 women who took fluconazole seven to 22 weeks into pregnancy, about 150 miscarried, compared with roughly 560 of 13,000 women matched for maternal age and gestational age. Also, women who used the drug in the first 22 weeks of pregnancy had a significantly higher chance of miscarriage than those who did not.

Symptoms include, severe itching or soreness, pain during urination or sexual intercourse and abnormal vaginal discharge. The Center for Disease Control has recommended that only topical azole products be used to treat yeast infections while pregnant to be on the safe side.

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