(Date: November 2017. Version: 2.1)

This factsheet has been written for members of the public by the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS). UKTIS is a not-for-profit organisation funded by Public Health England on behalf of UK Health Departments. UKTIS has been providing scientific information to health care providers since 1983 on the effects that medicines, recreational drugs and chemicals may have on the developing baby during pregnancy.

What is it?

Hyoscine is a medicine that comes in two forms:

Hyoscine butylbromide (butylscopolamine, buscopan) is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and muscle spasms in the bladder and urinary tract.

Hyoscine hydrobromide (scopolamine hydrobromide, Joy Rides®, Kwells®, Scopoderm TTS patches®) is used to prevent travel/motion sickness and to reduce bodily secretions such as saliva and sweat in specific situations (for example, before operations).

Is it safe to take hyoscine in pregnancy?

When deciding whether to use hyoscine during pregnancy it is important to weigh up the potential benefits to your health and wellbeing against any possible risks to you or your baby, some of which may depend on how many weeks pregnant you are. Because there is very little scientific information about women using hyoscine in pregnancy, any risks to the baby are theoretical. If use of hyoscine in pregnancy has been suggested by a doctor or specialist, they will be able to help you make decisions about your treatment.

What if I have already taken hyoscine during pregnancy?

If are taking any medicines while pregnant you can discuss this with your doctor. You can then decide together whether ongoing treatment is appropriate, and, if so, your doctor will ensure that you are taking the most effective dose.

Can using hyoscine in pregnancy cause my baby to be born with birth defects?

A baby’s body and most internal organs are formed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is mainly during this time that some medicines are known to cause birth defects.

Scientific evidence from a small number of studies does not show that taking hyoscine during early pregnancy increases the chance of having a baby with a birth defect. However, larger studies are ideally required to confirm this.

Can using hyoscine in pregnancy cause any other problems?

No studies have investigated the likelihood of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, or low infant birth weight following use of hyoscine in pregnancy. Additionally, no studies of learning and behaviour in children exposed in the womb to hyoscine have been carried out. Ongoing research into all of these outcomes is ideally required.

Will my baby need extra monitoring during pregnancy?

As part of their routine antenatal care most women will be offered a scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy to look for birth defects and to check the baby’s growth.

Women taking hyoscine during pregnancy are unlikely to be offered additional monitoring as there is currently no suggestion that it will cause problems for the baby.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has taken hyoscine?

We would not expect any increased risk to your baby if the father took hyoscine before or around the time you became pregnant.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from www.uktis.org.  

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General information 

Up to 1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and 1 in 40 babies are born with a birth defect. These are referred to as the background population risks.  They describe the chance of these events happening for any pregnancy before taking factors such as the mother’s health during pregnancy, her lifestyle, medicines she takes and the genetic make up of her and the baby’s father into account.

Medicines use in pregnancy

Most medicines used by the mother will cross the placenta and reach the baby. Sometimes this may have beneficial effects for the baby.  There are, however, some medicines that can harm a baby’s normal development.  How a medicine affects a baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy when the medicine is taken. If you are on regular medication you should discuss these effects with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please ensure the doctor or health care professional treating you is aware of your pregnancy.

When deciding whether or not to use a medicine in pregnancy you need to weigh up how the medicine might improve your and/or your unborn baby’s health against any possible problems that the drug may cause. Our bumps leaflets are written to provide you with a summary of what is known about use of a specific medicine in pregnancy so that you can decide together with your health care provider what is best for you and your baby.   

Every pregnancy is unique. The decision to start, stop, continue or change a prescribed medicine before or during pregnancy should be made in consultation with your health care provider. It is very helpful if you can record all your medication taken in pregnancy in your hand held maternity records.



Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the individual care and advice of your health care provider. New information is continually becoming available. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication, we cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes following decisions made on the basis of this information. We strongly advise that printouts should NOT be kept for any length of time, or for “future reference” as they can rapidly become out of date.

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