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Side Effects of Terbutaline in Pregnancy Seen across the Globe

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Galway, IrelandA recent inquest into the death of a baby girl in Ireland, who succumbed to a lack of oxygen during delivery, heard that the midwife involved contacted a consultant because she was concerned about terbutaline side effects.

According to the Evening Herald, the baby, Amber Reilly, was delivered through an emergency Cesarean section at a Galway hospital on February 9, 2010. During the delivery, the umbilical cord reportedly became tangled around the girl's neck and she was deprived of oxygen, suffering brain damage as a result, the inquest heard.

The baby was then reportedly transferred to a separate hospital, where she ultimately passed away on February 15, the news source said.

The inquest at Dublin City Coroner's Court heard that midwife Anne Benson decided to contact a consultant obstetrician after Dr. Peter Lukco decided to give terbutaline to the mother, Lorraine Reilly, while she was in labor.

According to the news source, Lukco, after examining Lorraine Reilly, diagnosed her with a hyperactive uterus with abnormal fetal heartbeat patterns and administered her the terbutaline in order to limit the amount of contractions.

However, Benson told the inquest that she was "not happy" with this decision and was told by the consultant obstetrician to advise Lukco to bring the mother into the operating room to undergo an emergency Cesarean section.

When coroner Dr. Brian Farrell asked the consultant obstetrician, Dr. Naveed A. Khawaja, if he would have administered terbutaline, he said he may have been discouraged to do so due to the fact that Lorraine Reilly had previously undergone another Cesarean section at 30 weeks gestation.

"I'd be reluctant to use it in someone who had a previous Cesarean section," the doctor told the inquest.

Terbutaline, which is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent the narrowing of airways that is associated with conditions such as asthma and bronchitis, should not be used to prevent preterm labor, according to a February release from the federal agency.

The warning was issued by the FDA due to the potential for severe maternal heart issues and possibly death, according to the release.

As a result, the FDA mandated that terbutaline carry a boxed warning to warn doctors and physicians about the use of the injection in such cases.


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