What Medications Can You Take While Pregnant?

By Paul Easley, R Ph

No drug can be considered 100% safe to use during pregnancy. You and your health care professional must weigh the risk versus benefit of any treatment. Medication taken by pregnant women will cross the placenta and enter the bloodstream of the unborn child. The effect on the fetus of the substance consumed depends on the chemical taken and the stage of the pregnancy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has established the following pregnancy categories under Section 201.57 of the federal drug registry.

Category A:

Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus during pregnancy.

Vitamin B-12 , Folic Acid and some Thyoid medications are included in Category A.

Category B:

Animal reproductive studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there is no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Most Penicillin antibiotics, Claritin (Loratadine), and Tylenol (Acetaminophen) are classified in Category B.

Category C:

Animal reproductive studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there is no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks. Most medications fall into this category. Your health professional should determine if the benefits outweigh the risk.

Category D:

There is positive evidence of human fetal risk, based of adverse reaction data from investigational and marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks. These drugs should not be used except in life threatening situations, when safer alternates cannot be used.

Category X:

Studies in Animals, or humans have demonstrated abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience and the risk involved in use of the drug in pregnant women clearly outweigh the potential benefits. These drugs include Accutane and oral contraceptives and  should not be used during pregnancy.

The category listing for any drug can be found at the website www.safefetus.com

You should discuss any prescription or non-prescription use with your health care provider as soon as you become pregnant. Do not stop taking chronic medication unless directed to do so.

While the effect on most medication on the unborn is not known, the following medications have no known harmful effects when used according to package directions.

Acetaminophen – (Tylenol brand) for headache and mild to moderate pain. Do not use the multi-symptom items. Check the label carefully, ASK YOUR PHARMACIST.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl brand)- for allergies

Pseudophedrine (Sudafed brand) for head congestion.

Do not use if blood pressure is high. Saline nose drops can also be used.

Guaiphenisin DM (Robitussin brand) or Hall’s cough drops for cough.

For Constipation use Metamucil, Citrucil, Colace, or  Milk of Magnesia, make sure to increase you fluid intake and eat foods high in fiber to prevent this from being a problem.

Imodium AD can be used for Diarrhea only after 12 weeks of pregnancy and only for 24 hours. If the problem persists contact you Doctor.

Topical preparations for first aid cuts and scraps use Bacitracin or Neosporin Ointments. For rashes use Hydrocortisone Cream or Ointment, Calamine lotion, Benadryl Cream or the Aveeno Oatmeal bath.

Hemorrhoids can be treated using Preparation H, Anusol, Tucks, or Witch Hazel.

Nausea and vomiting can be treated with vitamin B-6  or Emetrol. Non-drug containing Sea bands, which are worn on the wrists, have also been shown to help.

Vaginal yeast infections can be treated with Monistat or Terazol.

Many of the “Natural” or “Organic” supplements on the market have not been tested for their safety and should not be used during pregnancy without consulting your health care provider.

Image from: www.frenchtribune.com

Paul Easley R Ph is a Pharmacist for Valu Market Family Pharmacy. For more information you can  email to:  looppharmacy@valumarkets.com

 

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