U at Buffalo boffin may have the Middleton cure

Those of you who have been waiting on pins and needles to hear about the next trial of Kate Middleton are surely breathing a sigh of relief that she’s out of the hospital.

But as much as the media’s obsession with the Royal Bump is a bit over wrought for a country that does not have royalty, Kate Middleton’s morning sickness problem is in fact quite common. And the proper relief for such severe morning sickness has eluded doctors up until now.

One researcher at the University of Buffalo may have struck on that solution, using a drug normally administered as an anti-seizure medication. Doctor Thomas Guttuso has been working with a drug called gabapentin and cancer patients when he hit on the idea that the same drug might prove effective dealing with hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness in pregnant women):

“But when they started with gabapentin, all of them showed a dramatic improvement,” he says. “Within two hours of taking the first pill, most of the patients were feeling much better and several were able to start eating and drinking again. It was a pretty amazing thing to see.

“The study showed that after two weeks of gabapentin therapy, the seven women experienced an average 80 percent reduction in their nausea and a 94 percent reduction in their vomiting and near normal levels of eating and drinking,” Guttuso says. After this study was published, Guttuso knows of five more women with hyperemesis gravidarum that tried gabapentin and all experienced excellent relief.

Tests with the drug showed obvious promise, but they are in fact very small clinical tests. More work will need to be done to prove that the drug can be considered safe and effective.

And as much as we all enjoy laughing at the media’s constant hovering over Middleton, this rarely-discussed yet common problem for pregnant women is very serious indeed. Like Middleton, many women find themselves in the hospital on fluids because they can neither eat nor drink while suffering. In fact the article notes a remarkable 15% of women suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum terminate the pregnancy because they are unable to continue.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.