Viagra in pregnancy study stopped after 11 babies die

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A Dutch drug trial in which pregnant women whose babies faced life-threatening growth issues were given Viagra has been halted after 11 babies died.

The study - which started in 2015 and involved 11 hospitals - was created to look at possible beneficial effects of increased blood flow to the placenta in mothers whose unborn babies were severely underdeveloped.

Researchers said their principle goal now is to find out what happened.

The test ran in 10 Dutch hospital and involved 183 women.

11 of these babies were later identified to have elevated blood pressure in their lungs, presumed to be linked to the drug trial.

The hope was that the drug "can open up some blood vessels in the placenta and then can help the growth of the fetus", Pammi said.

According to Stanford Children's Health, IUGR is a condition in which the fetus is smaller than expected for a number of weeks of pregnancy.

"We are not aware of an increase in adverse outcomes among the 21 Canadian trial participants". But that trial also failed to show a benefit.

"The chance of a disease of the blood vessels of the lungs appears to be greater and the chance of death after birth seems to have increased", the statement read.

The research had been borne out in rats, and so the next step was humans: Some 93 pregnant Dutch women whose placentas weren't operating optimally were given sildenafil, the drug better known as Viagra. In the trial, 93 moms were treated with sildenafil, while 90 others received a placebo. Apart from the 11 babies who died, 17 of them developed the lung problems and eight died of unrelated conditions.

More than a dozen things can cause intrauterine growth restriction, including maternal diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure, chromosomal abnormalities in the baby or several types of infection. Nine other babies born to women in the control group died of unrelated problems.

About 15 mothers in the drug trial group have yet to give birth. In any case, they have temporarily stopped their research'.

Pills of the drug Viagra (L) made by Pfizer, are shown in this file photo in NY.

A spokesperson from the UMC told the media that the trial is believed to have followed the correct protocol, but they expect an external investigation to be launched into the matter.

The further growth and development of the children in the stopped Netherlands study will be monitored and the data further analyzed, according to the medical center.

The clinical trial of sildenafil is also being conducted in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia and New Zealand.

"It needs a thorough investigation because the complications were not seen in the two other, similar trials that have already been done in the United Kingdom and Australia and New Zealand".

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