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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 909860, 8 pages
Research Article

Off-Label Use of Ondansetron in Pregnancy in Western Australia

1Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, 100 Roberts Road, Subiaco, WA 6008, Australia
2Centre for Neonatal Research and Education, The University of Western Australia, 374 Bagot Road, Subiaco, WA 6008, Australia
3School of Dentistry, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway Crawley, Perth, WA 6009, Australia
4Western Australian Register of Developmental Anomalies, 374 Bagot Road, Subiaco, WA 6008, Australia

Received 19 September 2013; Revised 19 November 2013; Accepted 19 November 2013

Academic Editor: Allegaert Karel

Copyright © 2013 Lyn Colvin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aims. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is the most common medical condition in pregnancy. There is an increasing trend to prescribe ondansetron although its safety for use in pregnancy has not been established. Methods. Exposed pregnancies were all births in Western Australia, 2002–2005, where the mother was dispensed ondansetron under the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, compared with all other births during the same period. Outcomes investigated include maternal and child characteristics, birth defects, pregnancy, and delivery characteristics. Results. There were 96,968 births from 2002 to 2005. Ondansetron was dispensed to 251 pregnant women during this period. The women dispensed ondansetron were more likely to be privately insured (OR: 5.8; 95% CI: 4.3–7.9), to be Caucasian (3.3; 1.9–5.7), not to smoke during their pregnancy (2.9; 1.8–4.7), to have a multiple birth (2.7; 1.5–5.0), and to have used fertility treatment (1.8; 1.0–3.4). There was a small but not significantly increased risk of a major birth defect with first trimester exposure (1.2; 0.6–2.2). Conclusions. Our study did not detect any adverse outcomes from the use of ondansetron in pregnancy but could not conclude that ondansetron is safe to use in pregnancy.