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What Is Doxylamine and Pyridoxine Used For?

If you have nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy, you may benefit from a medication called doxylamine and pyridoxine. This product is used for treating "morning sickness" in pregnant women who cannot adequately control nausea and vomiting through dietary means or other nonmedicine methods. This combination medication contains both an antihistamine and vitamin B6, and works to relieve mild-to-moderate nausea and vomiting.

An Overview of Uses for Doxylamine and Pyridoxine

Doxylamine and pyridoxine (Diclegis®) is a prescription combination medication that contains an antihistamine (doxylamine) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). It is approved to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnant women who continue to have these symptoms despite changes in diet and other nonmedicine treatments.
Up to 90 percent of pregnant women will experience nausea during their pregnancy, with or without vomiting. This is commonly referred to as "morning sickness." However, the term morning sickness is a bit misleading, as many women who have nausea and vomiting during pregnancy actually feel sick throughout the day.
For most women, the symptoms first appear at about week 5 of pregnancy, peak at week 9, and improve by week 15. However, some women will continue to experience nausea and vomiting into their third trimester.

The exact reason pregnancy causes nausea and vomiting is unknown, but could be due to increased hormone levels, slowed movement of food through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, psychological reasons such as stress, or a combination of these factors. What is known is that certain women appear to have a higher risk for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, including women who:
  • Are prone to nausea and vomiting from birth control pills, motion sickness, or migraine headaches
  • Have experienced nausea and vomiting during previous pregnancies
  • Have heartburn or acid reflux
  • Did not take multivitamins before week 6 of pregnancy.
The initial treatment of mild nausea and vomiting is generally conservative in nature. Conservative treatment includes changes in diet and lifestyle aimed at reducing symptoms, especially enough so a woman can eat and keep food and liquids down. Examples of diet and lifestyle modifications that may help alleviate nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy include:
  • Eating several small meals throughout the day (as opposed to three large meals)
  • Eating bland, low-fat foods
  • Avoiding smells that trigger nausea
  • Drinking carbonated or sour fluids, such as ginger ale or lemonade
  • Not lying down immediately after eating.
Doxylamine and pyridoxine is a medication option for use in women whose symptoms do not adequately respond to nonmedicine strategies. Women start by taking the medication once a day before bedtime, and can increase this dosage to up to four tablets (one in the morning, one in the mid-afternoon, and two at night) if necessary.
It should be noted that doxylamine and pyridoxine has not been studied for severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, known medically as hyperemesis gravidarum. Women with hyperemesis gravidarum will often vomit every day, and usually become dehydrated from the frequent vomiting.
Doxylamine and pyridoxine is meant to be taken on a daily basis to prevent nausea and vomiting, not as needed. Because your symptoms may subside as your pregnancy progresses, your healthcare provider will periodically reassess your need for doxylamine and pyridoxine. For most women, nausea and vomiting improves after the first trimester of pregnancy. 
Pregnancy and Pain

Doxylamine and Pyridoxine Drug Information

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