Thursday, August 28, 2014

Heparin Does Not Reduce Pregnancy Complications, and May Create Some

For the past 20 years pregnant women with an increased risk of developing blood clots have often been prescribed a common blood thinner to prevent serious complications from the clots, including preeclampsia (high blood pressure in the mother), disruption of the placenta, low birth weight and loss of the fetus. The largest randomized clinical trial to examine the therapy finds that the drug—low-molecular-weight heparin—is not effective. The find, reported in The Lancet, is the result of a dozen years of analysis of patients across five countries.

Doctors are very happy to overtreat - and here's an excellent example of how they often end up doing harm rather than good.

Lots of IVF specialists have also started treating patients who have failed IVF cycles with LMWH ( low molecular weight heparin), claiming that this helps to improve the chances of implantation by improving blood flow to the uterus ( presumably by reducing the clotting tendency of the blood). Sadly, this has never been proven, and is used as empiric therapy, only because it makes logical sense.  The injections are painful - and expensive , and are best avoided , in my opinion.

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