After seeing gabapentin help reduce nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, Doctor Thomas Guttuso of UB started wondering if it would work on pregnant women with morning sickness.
He had ten women take part in a pilot study. "It was really exciting to see how quickly the women responded," says Guttuso.
None of the women had seen any improvement on any other anti-emetic medications they had tried.
"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.
But, Guttuso noted two of the ten babies were born with congenital defects.
After other studies noted the rate of congenital defects in babies born to women taking gabapentin, the FDA lifted a clinical hold.
But he emphasizes more studies are needed to see if it's really effective.