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URMC / Research / Research@URMC / September 2014 / A New Drug for What Ails Kate Middleton?

A New Drug for What Ails Kate Middleton?

Kate Middleton’s second pregnancy is starting out much like her first: She’s being treated for severe nausea and vomiting, a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Rochester researchers, in partnership with researchers from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, are testing a new therapy for the debilitating condition. Currently, multiple medications have been used with varying levels of success. Pregnant woman

The drug under investigation, gabapentin, is normally used to treat seizures, pain and restless legs syndrome. Investigators will compare the effectiveness of gabapentin to the anti-nausea medication ondansetron (brand name Zofran) in 80 women with hyperemesis gravidarum in Buffalo and Rochester and monitor for any potential risks to mom or baby. According to the American Pregnancy Association, recent studies show that at least 60,000 cases of hyperemesis gravidarum are treated in US hospitals each year, but the true number of cases is probably higher since many women are treated at home or by their obstetrician.

“Care for women with hyperemesis can be very frustrating for both patients and providers because none of the treatments that we use for standard morning sickness are truly affective against it,” said Loralei L. Thornburg, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a high-risk pregnancy expert at the University of Rochester.  “As a result, these women often feel hopeless and discouraged by their lack of improvement.  They are often unable to work and frequently use emergency services, which can be a major financial and emotional burden for them and their families.”   

Thornburg is working closely with lead investigator Thomas J. Guttuso Jr., M.D., associate professor of Neurology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University at Buffalo who first started studying the drug as a neurologist at UR. Their current study is funded by a National Institutes of Health grant to Guttuso. Learn more about the study here and more about hyperemesis gravidarum here

Emily Boynton | 9/11/2014

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