I am eight weeks pregnant and so sick to my stomach that I cannot even go to work. My doctor prescribed some medicine, Diclectin®. I am afraid to take the medicine because I have heard that medicines taken early in pregnancy can cause birth defects. What should I do?
Good news! Diclectin® is the Canadian version of a medicine that was widely used in the US in the 1970s called Bendectin®, a combination of vitamin B6 and an antihistamine called doxylamine. It is one of the few drugs on which we have extensive pregnancy safety data because it was well researched back when it was in widespread use in the States. Bendectin® was taken off the market not because it caused birth defects, but because the company got tired of defending lawsuits when babies happened to be born with birth defects from moms who happened to have taken Bendectin®.
Bendectin® was very effective for nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy. In my mind losing it from our armamentarium is one of the many losses our society has suffered from being so litigious. It is kind of ironic that lawsuits are sometimes presented as making the world safer but often they do just the opposite. That said you are wise to avoid most medications in early pregnancy.
Given the good safety data on Bendectin/Diclectin, and the fact that you and your baby will probably be better off if you feel well enough to eat a healthy diet and do your normal activities, I'd say following your doctor's advice might be the best road to take at this time. Be well.