Brethine: Safe During Pregnancy?

I recently read that women over three months pregnant shouldn't take Brethine. Our doctor seems to think it's safe. What do you think?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

The use of Brethine (Terbutaline) during pregnancy should never be taken lightly. It is clearly a risk/benefit decision. In simple terms, in preterm labor it relaxes the uterus. This is used only when the diagnosis of preterm labor has been made.

Respiratory distress and pneumonia are risks of preterm birth, which present a higher risk of mortality than administration of the drug. There are maternal side effects which are quite unpleasant but women bear them because of the risk of prematurity. This drug has not even been approved by the FDA for use in this manner, but its use is certainly within the standard of care for preterm labor.

I hope that your wife has no need for this drug, but if she does, it should be a decision between the two of you and her physician, after thorough discussion of all the possible risks and benefits.

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