How safe and effective is ondansetron for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy?
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Q: How safe and effective is ondansetron for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy? Evidence-based answer: oral ondansetron is more effective than a combination of pyridoxine and doxylamine for outpatient treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (strength of recommendation [SOR]: B, randomized controlled trial [RCT]). For moderate to severe nausea and vomiting, intravenous (IV) ondansetron is at least as effective as IV metoclopramide and may cause fewer adverse reactions (SOR: B, RCTs). Disease registry, case-control, and cohort studies report a slight increase in the risk of cardiac defects with ondansetron use in first-trimester pregnancies, but no major or other birth defects are associated with ondansetron exposure (SOR: B, a systematic review of observational trials and a single retrospective cohort study). A specialty society guideline recommends weighing the risks and benefits of ondansetron use before 10 weeks’ gestational age and suggests reserving ondansetron for patients who have persistent nausea and vomiting unresponsive to first- and second-line treatments (SOR: C, expert opinion).
Journal of Family Practice, vol. 68, no. 7 (September 2019), p. E12-E14