Pregnant women can now finally get a prescription for a four-times-a-day morning sickness pill in the UK.
Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women in the UK can now be prescribed a pill licensed for morning sickness for the first time in decades.
The morning sickness pill, called Xonvea, is the first of its kind in the UK to alleviate symptoms of vomiting and nausea during pregnancy since Debendox was withdrawn in the 1980s.
As of summer 2019, doctors in the UK will be able to prescribe the pill after testing found it to be 23% more effective than placebo treatments.
UK doctors’ reluctance to introduce the pill in this country stems from the wake of the thalidomide scandal in the 1950s, which initially wasn’t tested before being rolled out, resulting in hundreds of children being born without limbs.
Xonvea has now undergone trials on pregnant women and bodies such as the British Pregnant Advisory Service are backing the new method of treatment.
Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said: ‘We welcome the news that finally, a license has been granted for a medication to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
‘We know many women are simply told to put up with debilitating symptoms on the basis that no medication is safe in pregnancy, when in fact the risks of not treating may be significantly higher.
‘The BPAS sees women whose sickness is so debilitating they are left with no choice but to terminate what is often a very much wanted pregnancy.’
But the drug is not a miracle cure for all women, Ms Murphy added. She said: ‘This is no silver bullet.
‘It is important to note if this medication does not work or symptoms deteriorate, a number of other safe medications are available even if they have not been specifically licensed for use in pregnant women.
‘This medication is a first level of treatment for pregnancy sickness and will generally not be sufficient to treat the most severe form of the condition, Hyperemesis Gravidarum, the condition suffered by the Duchess of Cambridge.
‘Our hope would be that for at least some women, their symptoms and sickness will not escalate to the point that they need our services.’
Xonvea is made of doxylamine and pyridoxine, estimated to have been used by 33 million women worldwide during the past 40 years.
Professor Catherine Nelson-Piercy, a consultant obstetric physician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London, said: ‘This delayed release formulation of doxylamine and pyridoxine has been used in millions of pregnant women worldwide.
‘Doctors caring for pregnant women in the UK are now able to prescribe Xonvea, affording women in the UK a licensed option when it comes to managing this often debilitating condition.’