Nicotine Replacement Therapy Linked With Infantile Colic

Women who smoke, use NRT, or both have increased risk of infantile colic in their offspring

MONDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Maternal smoking or use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of infantile colic in offspring, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in Pediatrics.

Ioanna Milidou, M.D., from the Herning Regional Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues used data from maternal interviews during pregnancy and at six months postpartum from the Danish National Birth Cohort (1996 to 2002) to investigate the association between use of NRT and smoking during pregnancy and infantile colic. Complete information was available for 63,128 live-born singletons.

The researchers found that 73.9 percent of infants were unexposed to nicotine during pregnancy and that 0.3, 23.8, and 2.0 percent were exposed to NRT, smoking, and both, respectively. Wessel's modified criteria for infantile colic were fulfilled by 7.9 percent of infants. Prenatal nicotine exposure correlated with an increased risk of infantile colic in the offspring; NRT users had an adjusted odds ratio [OR] of 1.6, smokers had an OR of 1.3, and women who smoked and used NRT had an OR of 1.6, compared with the unexposed. After adjusting for maternal smoking, there was no association between partner smoking and infantile colic.

"The mechanisms responsible for the association between prenatal exposure to tobacco smoking and infantile colic are unknown, but our data indicate that nicotine may play a role," the authors write. "Our study does not warrant a contraindication for using NRT for women who cannot stop smoking while pregnant but calls for more studies on the safety of NRT use in pregnancy."

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