Period pain medication should provide a warning about the known association between its use and an increased risk of miscarriage, a TGA review recommends.
More needs to be done to warn women, especially those planning a pregnancy, about the possible risk of miscarriage associated with taking common anti-inflammatory pain medication, a safety review has found.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, are widely used to treat pain, inflammation and fever.
They are also commonly used by those with arthritis.
Some studies have shown their use during early pregnancy increases a woman's risk of miscarriage.
A safety review by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, released on Tuesday, confirmed this association but found the warnings about the risk are inconsistent across all products.
The TGA also recommended that period pain medication include the risk of use in pregnancy warning on their labelling.
"Women who have conceived but are not yet aware of it may be exposed to increased risk of miscarriage if they self-treat for period pain in these situations," the report said.
Pharmacist Dr Grzekowiak from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute says there are some concerns that NSAIDs interfere with implantation of the fetus, which occurs prior to women knowing they are pregnant.
"While a clear risk has not been established, women who are trying to conceive are best advised to avoid using NSAIDs. Women are also advised against using NSAIDs when they know that they are pregnant, unless under careful medical supervision," he said.
There is, however, no need for mothers-to-be to panic, says Dr Grzekowiak .
"If women are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and need a mild analgesic or painkiller then paracetamol is a relatively safe alternative medication to use," Dr Grzeskowiak said.
The TGA is now working with sponsors of NSAIDs to harmonise the warnings.
Women planning a pregnancy and have any concerns or questions about these medications should seek advice from a healthcare professional.