Monday, December 27, 2010

Unisom + Vitamin B6 = Morning Sickness Preventative?

*Disclaimer:  I am not a medical professional!  Do not take medical advice from a middle-aged suburban housewife!  See your medical professional for all medical advice!*

I had a routine pre-natal visit with my doctor this afternoon.  As is our custom, my husband attended the appointment with me.  I find that it is helpful to have a second set of ears to hear whatever the doctor says and today it was helpful to have my husband ask questions. 

I've had what I suppose is typical morning sickness for a few weeks, but I've been crippled by it over the last several days.  I can't get out of bed for at least an hour every morning.  I can't sleep between the hours of 11:00 pm and 2:00 am.  I need to lie down for several hours during the day, usually morning or afternoon but sometimes both, because I feel that I might puke if I'm upright.  I have to choose what I'll attempt to eat with the thought that I want to eat what would be the least offensive thing to see flying out my mouth.  I can't even drink water without threat of vomiting it back up.  I've lost weight since I last saw my doctor two weeks ago and, thanks to my dehydration, my urine is concentrated enough that it is a bright yellow hue.

My husband thoughtfully brought up my horrible morning sickness while we were visiting with my doctor.  I never had a single episode of morning sickness when I was pregnant with my son so I figured that what I'm currently experiencing is normal and it would have never occurred to me to bring it up to the doctor.  Thank goodness my husband opened his mouth!

My doctor recommended that I take a 1/2 tablet (NOT a gel capsule) of plain Unisom and 25 mg of Vitamin B6 to help prevent nausea and, hopefully, stop the vomit.  It is not a cure, but it acts as a preventative so I'll be taking it for a few weeks. 

Doxylamine, the active ingredient in plain tablets of Unisom, and Vitamin B6 were the components of the anti-nausea drug Bendectin.  The manufacturer of Bendectin pulled it from the US market decades ago due to lawsuits alleging that it caused birth defects.  However, the drug was never proven to cause defect or damage and Bendectin never even lost FDA approval.  But the damage was done in the public eye, and to Merrel Dow's balance sheet - to the tune of over $100 million, and the manufacturer pulled it off the market anyway. 

Bendectin was used in an estimated 30 million pregnancies.  Study after study after study, literally more than 25 studies!, have proven that Bendectin is a safe and effective choice for preventing nausea in pregnancy.  The CDC has found no evidence that birth defects have decreased since Bendectin was pulled from the market in 1983.  But, for obvious business reasons - thanks to attorneys, junk science, and a particularly gullible jury, a safe and effective drug was voluntarily removed from the market.

I live a very clean lifestyle when I'm pregnant and I do not take medications unless absolutely necessary.  Based on what I learned while researching Bendectin and from my doctor's advice on the matter, I am perfectly comfortable taking this do-it-yourself Bendectin.  I took my first dose about thirty minutes ago and I don't notice any difference, but I'll see how I feel in a few days.

I specifically did not give dosage times or combinations because I am not a medical professional and no one reading this is my patient.  Contact your obstetrician for advice if you are experiencing abnormally severe morning sickness.

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