Babies poisoned in the womb

Babies to be given diet drug in the womb to stop them being born overweight in trial described as ‘disturbing’ by weight loss groups.

The Telegraph
May 11, 2011

One hundred obese mums-to-be will be given Metformin as part of a three-year study to tackle obesity rates and reduce the number of difficult births.

Patients at Liverpool Women’s Hospital will be given the drug to reduce the food supply to their unborn babies, although it will not help the mums themselves to lose weight.

Leading the trial, senior lecturer in obstetrics, Dr Andrew Weeks, said: “It is about trying to improve outcomes in pregnancy for women who are overweight.

“The problem is babies tend to be larger and many of the downsides of being overweight during pregnancy relate to the birth.”

Metformin reduces blood sugar levels which are passed onto babies in the womb, and is already regularly used to treat diabetic mums-to-be, as well as diabetics in general.

During the study, half of the patients will take Metformin pills up to three times a day from 12 weeks gestation, while the other half will be given placebo drugs.

Doctors hope it will prevent the birth of oversized babies, thereby reducing the need for caesarean sections.

Instances of pre-eclampsia, the potentially fatal complication in pregnancy common to overweight mothers, are also hoped to be reduced.

The trial will run as a joint study between hospitals in Liverpool, Coventry and Edinburgh and will monitor over 400 women in total.

Dr Weeks added: “The difficulty comes when you have been living in a particular way for years that is not healthy.

“To suddenly change to a different lifestyle is not easy to do.

“Lifestyle change takes time and we would always encourage this as well but the use of Metformin gives us another option when the other is not realistic.”

However, a leading expert behind the UK’s fastest growing weight loss organisation has voiced concerns over giving pregnant women drugs to prevent them having obese babies.

CEO of All About Weight, Alison Wetton, said: “Women rightfully feel uneasy – no mother-to-be likes to take medication.

“The fact that the widely-used diabetes pill, Metformin, is being trialled to prevent obese babies being born to overweight mothers is disturbing to me, and I am sure most other women as well.”

Will Williams, scientific advisor for All About Weight, added that, although there were “reasonable grounds” for the trial, it was “a shame that it is needed at all”.

He said: “We know Metformin is safe in pregnancy and has no negative effects on the child up to 2 years, but there is a lack of studies on older children.

“Women wanting to conceive could instead lose weight by following a healthy weight loss plan, including diet and exercise.

“This would achieve all the things that the Metformin trial is hoping to do, without the risks or costs of adding a drug with uncertain long term effects.

“This would be far preferable to popping a pill that may help pregnancy outcomes.

“It is unlikely to break the cycle of an unhealthy lifestyle leading to overweight children and the continuing rise of obesity and diabetes in the general population.”

However, Jane Norman, Professor of Maternal and Foetal Health at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the University of Edinburgh, believes the benefits of the trial will outweigh the risks.

Prof Norman, a representative of leading pregnancy charity Tommy’s, said: “Research has shown that babies born to obese mothers are at increased risk of complications in later life.

“Obese pregnant women have high levels of glucose and Metformin is proven to reduce glucose.

“We have to be careful with the use of drugs in pregnancy but we already know that it is safe to give expectant mothers.

“It is likely that Metformin will prevent babies from getting too big and, putting all these factors together, I am confident that the benefits will outweigh the risks.”

Watch out for Diabetes Drugs. Your Heart will thank you!

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Natural News

Widely used diabetes drugs appear to increase patients’ risk of potentially fatal heart problems, according to a study conducted bdiabetesy researchers from Imperial College London and published in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers examined patient and prescription records to examine rates of heart failure, heart attack and death from any cause among 900,000 patients taking all different kinds of diabetes drugs. Patients were followed for an average of seven years each.

Diabetes drugs fall into three classes: sulphonyureas, glitazones and biguanides. The sulphonyureas include chlorpropamide, glibenclamide (marketed as Daonil and Euglucon), gliclazide (marketed as Diamicron), glimepiride (marketed as Amaryl), glipizide (marketed as Glibenese and Minodiab) and tolbutamide. The glitazones, also called thiazolidinediones, include rosiglitazone (marketed as Avandia) and pioglitazone (marketed as Actos). Metformin is the only anti-diabetes biguanide on the market.

The researchers compared all other drugs to metformin, which is an older, well-proven diabetes drug that is often used as a first line of treatment. They found that patients taking sulphonyureas were between 24 and 60 percent more likely to die of any cause than patients taking metformin, and also significantly more likely to suffer heart failure or heart attack. Patients on rosiglitazone had an increased risk of heart failure over metformin.

Pioglitazone appeared to offer the same risk of heart failure as metformin, and both glitazones had the same risk of heart attack or death as the older drug.

Because the elevated blood sugar levels characteristic of diabetes tend to damage blood vessels, all diabetics are at an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Combined with the fact that chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease can take a long time to develop even when caused or exacerbated by drugs, this means that heart-related side effects to diabetes drugs can be very hard to detect. Often, they only emerge after products have been on the market for years.