After 11 babies die, Dutch halt Viagra pregnancy study

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After 11 babies die, Dutch halt Viagra pregnancy study

Dutch doctors and researchers announced Monday that a study involving Viagra and pregnant women had been halted with immediate effect after 11 infants died due to lung conditions possibly linked to the drug. Previous research in rats suggested the drug might boost blood flow in the placenta and promote a baby's growth, The Guardian reported.

Half of the 183 mothers in the trial had been treated with SIL, while the other half were treated with a placebo.

The trial in Amsterdam was focussed around using increased blood flow to assist slow growing placentas.

The research, carried out at 10 hospitals, involved giving the women - chosen because their placentas had been under performing - the drug sildenafil, commonly sold under the brand name Viagra.

It sometimes occurs because the mother has high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes or a condition called preeclampsia, he added.

The Queensland trial has had no adverse effects so far. But they also found no benefit.

The AMC said in a statement that the likelihood of lung blood vessel damage "appears to be greater and the chance of death after birth seems to have increased", reports SBS.

During the study, another 90 women took a placebo pill with no active ingredients.

Among the treatment group, 17 babies developed lung conditions that reportedly caused high blood pressure in the lungs and may have been the result of reduced oxygen levels. None of these babies had developed the lung disease. Three babies with the lung disorder were born to women who were treated with the placebo, and they all survived.

Ganzevoort expressed concern that doctors may have been prescribing the medication to pregnant women after hearing anecdotal evidence it may be good for children at medical conferences. Women participated in a medical experiment. That research has now been temporarily stopped, she said.

An experimental drug was supposed to enhance prenatal development.

"Pfizer was not involved in any aspect of this trial, and neither funded nor provided product for the trial", the statement said.

It can mean babies are born prematurely, with a very low birth weight and poor chances of survival.

Previous studies in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand also examined whether sildenafil could assist these babies. The Dutch team plans to investigate all of the cases of lung hypertension and the neonatal deaths it caused to check whether the diagnosis was correct and whether there were other specific characteristics among this group.

A similar trial conducted in Canada has been paused following the outcome of the Amsterdam trial.

About 230 women had enrolled in the Mater trial, with another 200 expected to be recruited before the study was halted.

"This finding in the Dutch study is unexpected", Zarko Alfirevic, a professor at the University of Liverpool and one of the authors cited in a similar United Kingdom study, told the BBC.

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