Don’t hold back on giving patches to pregnant smokers

All pregnant women who are smokers should be offered nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) as an option to help them quit, Australian researchers say.

In a review published in the MJA, authors said that even though there was a general acknowledgement that there was no firm evidence that proved NRT was safe or effective in pregnancy, all the current guidelines recommend its use for women who couldn’t quit without medication.

In a nutshell, NRT is safer than smoking, and smoking during pregnancy is the most important preventable risk factor for poor maternal and infant health outcomes, they said.

Despite this, there appears a reluctance among doctors, both here and around the world to prescribe the therapy to pregnant women.

The researchers cited a recent survey of Australian GPs and obstetricians that found one in four said they never prescribed NRT in pregnancy.

One possible reason for this reluctance, they suggest is the caveats and cautions included in many ...

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