One in ten women who are pregnant have overpowering nausea, which can be difficult to deal with and cause malnutrition for the mother and baby.

Zofran, marketed and made by GlaxoSmithKline and a generic form of the medicine have been used for treating nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Currently there is no drug approved by the FDA for morning sickness in the US, but doctors can prescribe medications that they feel will help.

Previous studies were too small to draw conclusions, but this new study out of Denmark looked at 600,000 pregnancies and found that there were neither major problems during pregnancies nor was an increase in birth defects seen from use of the drug.

Researchers used a registry in Denmark to compare rates of miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects, preterm delivery and having a baby that weighed too little among women who used the drug during pregnancy and others who did not. Researchers also looked at use during the first trimester of pregnancy, when risks to the developing fetus are highest.

Concern about therapies that reduced morning sickness date back to the late 1950s when Thalidomide was allowed on the market in Europe and illegally prescribed in the US for morning sickness. The use of the drug prevented an important step in the development of the fetus and resulted in tens of thousands of babies born without arms and legs. There was public outcry and the drug was banned in many countries.

The drug is safe and effective and there is no reason that women should have to suffer through months of nausea needlessly.

The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine can be found here.