Can you safely take Advil while you are pregnant? Ask your doctor.

A new study from the University of Montreal has revealed a possible link between NSAID painkillers and miscarriage.

While this study is a useful reminder that women should be cautious about taking drugs in pregnancy, it certainly doesn’t prove anything, says Dr. Gideon Koren, director of the Motherisk program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

“It is a national sport in Canada to scare pregnant women, even through research which cannot prove the point,” says Koren of the study.

 

“As a rule, Motherisk believes that in pregnancy women should not self-prescribe, but rather talk to their physicians on needs, benefits and risks.”

Here’s how the Montreal study worked: Using a Quebec registry of patients, researchers found 4,705 women who had had a miscarriage.

Each case was compared to 10 women in the registry who had not had a miscarriage.

They looked back over records to find out which women had been prescribed NSAIDs by a doctor. NSAIDs include celecoxib (Celebrex), rofecoxib (Vioxx), ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve).

They found that women who received at least one prescription for NSAIDs were more than twice as likely to have a miscarriage than women who did not.

The study, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, did not ask women whether they actually took the drugs, and did not include information about women taking over-the-counter Advil and Aleve.

“The study from Montreal has, we believe, major methodological problems that do not allow drawing a conclusion,” says Koren.

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