A heart drug is being tested as a better way of stopping pre term labour. The drug, nifedipine, is looking promising, early trials have found, and can postpone delivery much more effectively than ritrodine, a drug specifically developed to slow labour.
But just how safe is it? The trials suggest that no side effects to mother or baby have been reported, even when relatively high doses of nifedipine have been given.
But this is at variance with the warning from the manufacturer. In animal tests, stunted foetuses, digital anomalies, rib deformities and cleft palate have all been observed. And nursing mothers are warned not to take the drug as it can be passed to the baby through the breast milk.