Finally, a Pill for Morning Sickness -- But Is It Safe?

pregnancyThere's so much conflicting information out there about what's safe and what isn't, especially when it comes to pregnancy and babies, right? Come June, expecting moms with morning sickness can take Diclegis, a drug that was pulled off the market back in the '80s after claims it caused birth defects. The FDA says that whole birth defect thing turned out to just be a scare ... but I'd be too scared to take it anyway.

More from The Stir: 5 Morning Sickness Cures That Will Have You Feeling Like Your Old Self

Made by a private Canadian company called Duchesnay Inc, Diclegis is a generic version of a drug that came on the market under the name Bendectin back in the '50s in the US. By the '80s, 33 million nauseated pregnant women had taken Bendectin, but Merrell Dow, the company who made it, voluntarily withdrew it from the market because of hundreds of lawsuits filed by mothers claiming taking it caused birth defects in their babies. Merrell Dow says they withdrew the drug only because they couldn't afford to fight the lawsuits, not because it really did cause defects, something the FDA agrees with.


I had terrible "morning" sickness (and by "morning" I mean "morning, noon, and night, and middle of the night, and early morning, and basically each and every minute of the day"), but only in my first trimester; over the course of a couple of days, it magically lifted and I went from barely being able to eat anything (and not gaining any weight at all) to eating everything in sight (and gaining 50 pounds, high-five Kim Kardashian!!).

It was awful, but, I know, nothing compared to what some women suffer. I've had several friends whose morning sickness was so severe and lasted so long (like, 40 weeks long), their doctors prescribed anti-nausea medicine. I know that in at least one case that medicine was very likely a life-saver, and not in name only.

But still, I think unless I had really extreme morning sickness that was endangering my baby's life (or mine), I'd steer clear of this Diclegis. It's scary to say but I don't 100 percent trust the FDA -- they've been wrong before -- remember Thalidomide and all the awful birth defects it ended up causing? 

But then, my whole approach to my pregnancy was "better safe than sorry." I followed my doctor's instructions religiously, didn't eat a bite of anything on the list of things that MIGHT not be not OK (from sushi to brie), cut out all caffeine, and barely took an Advil. Looking back, I know I was a bit paranoid, but on the other hand, nine months of mild deprivation seems like a small price to pay for knowing you did everything in your power to assure your baby's health. And yes, I gave birth naturally, with no drugs (I'll take a monument over the medal, thanks!). I don't believe in suffering unnecessarily, but I also believe in being safer than sorrier when it comes to the health of my child.

Would you feel safe taking Diclegis if you had bad morning sickness?


Image via lizdavenportcreative/Flickr

drugs, morning sickness, is it safe


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nonmember avatar blue

Oays? Proofread. Anyway, I would not take it. I had sever morning sickness (I was hospitalized frequently, for fluids. I had to be at the doctor's office 3 times a week.) but I was still incredibly cautious with what I took. I HAD to take something to even keep down water, but I would not choose that drug.

Coles... Coles_mom

I agree with you. I had rough morning sickness with all three of mine, but I wouldn't have taken something that hasn't been proven by recent science.

nonmember avatar Anon

There's already a pill for morning sickness - Zofran (ondansetron). It's category B and works wonders. Plus it's not tainted by studies of bad outcomes, even if they were proven not reliable.

Craft... CraftyJenna

I would not take anything for my morning sickness. I actually have a friend who was one of the "thalidomide" babies, and it's no joke. I understand needing to do something if you are throwing up so much you are hospitalized, but otherwise, it's a pretty short phase. Ginger tea, ginger ail, crackers or whatever works. I would not trust a drug that was recalled then brought back 30 years later under a new name. 

nonmember avatar Becky

Just an fyi: the FDA never approved thalidomide. From Wikipedia, "In the United States, pharmacologist Frances Oldham Kelsey M.D. withstood pressure from the Richardson-Merrell company and refused Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to market thalidomide"

Research - what a crazy idea!

nonmember avatar Megan

Actually, the FDA got Thalidomide right. The drug was never approved for use in the United States.

nonmember avatar Tara

Unfounded fears like this are the reason women suffer needlessly and helpful medications- like this one- aren't available. This medication is a combination of the ingredient in Unisom and vitamin B6- a nausea remedy that many women already take. Having it in a pill will make the time release and dosing more consistent. All over the world women have been using this pill effectively and I'm glad it will be available. AND it has been studied MORE than Zofran for safety, is actually safer (less severe side effects), and is cheaper. This is possibly the most studied drug when it comes to its safe use during pregnancy.

Please, for the love of women suffering everywhere, do your research before you scare people off of good treatment.

Sincerely, a mom on her second HG pregnancy

Katy Khan

This pill is simply a mixture of vitamin b6 and an antihistamine ....doctors never stopped prescribing it, they would just tell women how to mix it at home. It's perfectly safe.

adrie... adrien_80

It was by no means a short phase for me! I was sick until week 20.  Barfing. All.The.Time.  No home remedies helped me at all. Ginger, crackers, those wristbands, etc. Nothing!  But I survived. I had to keep bags lined with papertowels in my car, purse, desk at work for the times it came on suddenly and I had not choice but to heave-ho. it was so awful.  I already had one medication they had me on that was necessary so I didnt want any more than I had to.  But there are people who would be hospitalized if not for the meds so by all means, do what you have to do. I needed our health insurance from my job so I would have crawled in if I had to.No money, no job, no health insurance would have been a very bad thing for us b/c I was the breadwinner. So yeah, I would have taken it if I needed to.

Casey Dalbey

I am all for it, but I doubt it would have worked for me since it is pretty much just unisom and vitamin b6. Zofran however it a lifesaver....

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