Terbutaline, An Drug That Is Sometimes Used To Prevent Premature Birth, Will Have A Boxed Warning -- The Most Serious Type.

FDA warns about using drug terbutaline to prevent preterm labor
Terbutaline, an drug that is sometimes used to prevent premature birth, will have a boxed warning -- the most serious type. USA Today reports:
Women should not be given injections of the drug terbutaline for more than three days "because of the potential for serious maternal heart problems and death," the FDA said Thursday. It is now requiring a boxed warning — the FDA's most serious type of warning — be added to the drug's label. The FDA also warned doctors against prescribing a pill form of the drug for "any treatment of preterm labor" because it has not been shown to be effective and carries similar risks.
Terbutaline was not approved to prevent preterm labor. In fact, it's a respiratory drug. However, doctors have been prescribing it to prevent preterm labor. Doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs for off-label uses, but the FDA says that terbuatline is responsible for the deaths of 16 pregnant women over a 23 year period. While some experts argue that the drug hasn't necessarily been shown to be effective in preventing preterm labor, adovcates for terbutaline disagree:
"It would be alarming to me to see it become unavailable," said Janet Bleyl, president and founder of the Triplet Connection, a national support group for parents of multiples. "It has made a life-or-death difference for many, many of our families." (source: USA Today)
Would you be willing to accept the risks and take terbutaline if you were at risk for preterm labor?

recommended for you