Britain just announced the first licensed morning sickness drug that may prevent women who suffer from nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) from aborting their unborn child.
According to a release by UK-based specialty pharmaceutical firm, Alliance Pharma, Xonvea is said to be the first licensed drug for NVP that helps women who do not respond to traditional treatments overcome their illness.
Xonvea is a combination-drug, consisting of doxylamine and pyridoxine, the same combination found in Diclegis: a U.S. version that was approved by the FDA in April 2013—30 years after the FDA put a ban on a similar product called Bendectin.
"The launch of Xonvea is a significant milestone for Alliance and I’m delighted that we have today made the product available in the U.K.," said Alliance Pharma CEO Peter Butterfield. “There is no other licensed treatment for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy in the UK so this is excellent news for patients and clinicians as it fulfills a significant unmet medical need.”
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.
In a statement on the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs said, “We welcome the news that finally, a license has been granted for a medication to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. We know that 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."
BPAS attributes nearly 1,000 terminated pregnancies in Britain to women’s debilitating symptoms. Though they hope that a licensed product will give doctors the confidence they need to prescribe the drug for women who need it, Murphy says it may not be enough to treat the most severe form of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which brings extreme nausea, vomiting, weight loss and electrolyte disturbance.
In a report on their website, BPAS says an estimated 10,000 of women per year suffer from HG. Thousands more will experience sickness that affects their ability to go about their daily lives.
"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.”
Nearly 751,923 women in the U.K. each year are affected by NVP, according to the release.
If all goes well, hospitals in Britain will soon be welcoming a lot more babies.