Gestational diabetes is the development of diabetes during pregnancy. Its an extremely serious condition that can lead to a life or death situation for the mother, as well as the fetus. A recent article in Endocrine Today discusses risks involved with a medication that is increasingly prescribed to treat gestational diabetes. Glyburide is taken orally to assist in controlling blood sugar levels. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists the medication in the pregnancy category C, which means that the agency has made no official determination about its safety and unborn babies.
Dangers of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes generally occurs in four percent of all pregnancies. Risk factors for the disease include women over the age of 25-years-old, family history of type-2 diabetes, excessive body weight and women of a non-white race. According to the Mayo Clinic, inadequate management of the condition can lead to the following complications:
*Gestational diabetes creates extra blood sugar in the blood, which can affect the fetus through the placenta. This can cause the lead to very large birth weights and a greater risk of delivery complications.
*These mothers are often forced to deliver preterm, due to the state of their health or the size of the baby. Premature babies often have respiratory distress syndrome, which requires artificial breathing assistance.
*Newborns may develop low blood sugar shortly after birth due to their own insulin production. This condition can lead to seizures
*For the mother, gestational diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy. This may result in a condition called eclampsia, which is extremely dangerous and life threatening.
The study highlighted in the Endocrine Today article was conducted nationwide, with the review of more than 110,000 women with a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Insulin is the most common course of treatment for women with the condition, but glyburide is quickly growing in its frequency of use.
Of the women included in the study, about 5,000 patients were prescribed glyburide to treat their condition. The study found that the following incidents were more common among these women:
***Respiratory distress in newborns
***Larger than normal fetuses
***Increased birth injuries
***Higher instances of neonatal ICU admissions
Study researchers are quoted in the article as stating, “These results are consistent with findings from prior studies and suggest that women with [gestational diabetes] being treated with glyburide may not be achieving adequate glucose control.”
When treating pregnant women, physicians are responsible for promoting the health of the mother, as well as the fetus growing inside of her. The decision to prescribe a medication should only occur with serious consideration to possible side effects and collateral complications. When a medical professional fails to exercise professional diligence, injuries can result. With the help of a knowledge and capable attorney, the family can secure financial compensation in a court of law.
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