The Safety of Higher Than Standard Dose of Doxylamine-Pyridoxine (Diclectin®) for Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy

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A delayed-release combination of doxylamine-pyridoxine (D-P) (Diclectin®) is the only approved antiemetic medication for use in pregnancy in Canada. The standard recommended dose is up to 4 tablets a day, regardless of body weight or severity of symptoms. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of adverse maternal and fetal effects and pregnancy outcome in 225 women taking Diclectin® at the recommended (n = 123) or higher than recommended (n = 102) doses. In this observational, prospective study, one-third (33.6%) of women reported having adverse effects (sleepiness, tiredness, and/or drowsiness) temporally related to the medication. There was no association between the dose per kg and rates of reported maternal adverse effects with doses ranging from 0.1 mg/kg to 2.0 mg/kg (1–12 tablets). Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP) was reported as severe by the majority (75.8%) of women. Mean birth weight (BW) was 3400 g and gestational age (GA) 39 weeks. Multivariate analysis revealed that only prepregnancy weight and GA predicted lower BW, not the dose of D-P or the severity of NVP. There were two pregnancies with major malformation, a finding that is consistent with the rates of birth defects in the general population. It was concluded that the higher than standard dose of Diclectin®, when calculated per kg of body weight, does not affect either the incidence of maternal adverse effects or pregnancy outcome. If needed, Diclectin can be given at doses higher than 4 tablets/day to normalize for body weight or optimize efficacy.

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