, Volume 265, Issue 2, pp 139-145
Date: 23 Nov 2007

Treating common ear problems in pregnancy: what is safe?

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Abstract

In everyday practise, more than 80% of pregnant women receive one at least medication, often for ENT causes. The aim of the present paper is to review the literature on safety and administration of medical treatment for ear diseases, in pregnant women. The literature review includes Medline and database sources. Electronic links, related books and written guidelines were also included. The study selection was as follows: controlled clinical trials, prospective trials, case-control studies, laboratory studies, clinical reviews, systematic reviews, metanalyses, and case reports. The following drugs are considered relatively safe: beta-lactam antibiotics (with dose adjustment), macrolides (although the use of erythromycin and clarithromycin carries a certain risk), and acyclovir. Non-selective NSAIDs (until the 32nd week), nasal decongestants (with caution and up to 7 days), intranasal corticosteroids, with budesonide as the treatment of choice, first generation antihistamines, or cetirizine (third trimester) and loratadine (second and third trimester) from the second generation, H2 receptor antagonists (except nizatidine) and proton pump inhibitors (except omeprazole), can be used to relieve patients from the related symptoms. Meclizine and dimenhydrinate, as antiemetics in vertigo attacks; metoclopramide, vitamin B6 and ginger rhizome, alternatively. Low-dose diazepam and diuretics in severe cases of Meniere’s disease (with caution). Systemic administration of prednisone and prednisolone can be considered in selected cases. By contrast, selective COX-2 inhibitors, betahistine and vasodilating agents are contraindicated in pregnancy. Since otologic and neurotologic manifestations during pregnancy tend to seriously affect the quality of life of the expectant mothers, ENT surgeons should familiarise themselves with the basic guidelines and safety precautions for any related medication, in order to provide appropriate treatment.