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Hydrochlorothiazide / olmesartan Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings

Hydrochlorothiazide / olmesartan is also known as: Benicar HCT

Hydrochlorothiazide / olmesartan Pregnancy Warnings

Hydrochlorothiazide-olmesartan has been assigned to pregnancy category D by the FDA. There are no controlled data in human pregnancy. The manufacturer states that when used in pregnancy during the second and third trimesters, drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system can cause injury and even death to the developing fetus. Retrospective reviews have shown an increased risk of malformations associated with thiazide diuretics. Use of hydrochlorothiazide-olmesartan is considered contraindicated during pregnancy.

Drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system can cause fetal and neonatal morbidity and death when administered during pregnancy. Several dozen cases have been reported in the world literature in patients who were taking angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. A committee of the National Institutes of Health has recommended that these drugs be avoided during pregnancy. When pregnancy is detected or expected, HCTZ-olmesartan should be discontinued as soon as possible. The use of drugs that act directly on the renin-angiotensin system during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy has been associated with fetal and neonatal injury, including hypotension, neonatal skull hypoplasia, anuria, reversible or irreversible renal failure, and death. Oligohydramnios has also been reported, presumably resulting from decreased fetal renal function; oligohydramnios in this setting has been associated with fetal limb contractures, craniofacial deformation, and hypoplastic lung development. Prematurity, intrauterine growth retardation, and patent ductus arteriosus have also been reported, although it is not clear whether these occurrences were due to exposure to the use of these drugs. These adverse effects do not appear to have resulted from intrauterine drug exposure that has been limited to the first trimester. Mothers whose embryos and fetuses are exposed to an angiotensin II receptor antagonist only during the first trimester should be so informed. Nonetheless, when patients become pregnant, physicians should have the patient discontinue the use of HCTZ-olmesartan as soon as possible. There are significant warnings against the use of thiazides during pregnancy. The Collaborative Perinatal Project monitored 50,282 mother-child pairs, of whom 233 were exposed to thiazide or related diuretics during the first trimester. An increased risk of malformations was found for thiazide diuretics. Use of thiazides after the first trimester does not seem to carry this risk. Thiazide diuretics may, however pose metabolic risks to the mother and fetus (hyponatremia, hypokalemia, thrombocytopenia, hyperglycemia), and may have a direct effect on smooth muscle, resulting in inhibition of labor. Data from the Michigan Medicaid Birth Defects Study has revealed an association between the use of HCTZ and congenital abnormalities (written communication, Franz Rosa, MD, Food and Drug Administration, 1994). This was a retrospective study of 229,101 completed pregnancies between 1985 and 1992, of which 567 were exposed to HCTZ at some time during the first trimester and 1,173 were exposed to the drug at any time during pregnancy. Of the 567 pregnancies, there were 24 total and 7 cardiovascular birth defects (22 and 6 were expected, respectively). There were no observations of cleft palate, spina bifida, limb reduction, or hypospadias. The one instance of polydactyly did not achieve statistical significance. These data are consistent with an association between the use of HCTZ and birth defects, although other factors, including any underlying disease(s) of the mother were not accounted for. Cases of neonatal thrombocytopenia associated with antepartum administration of thiazide diuretics have been reported.

Hydrochlorothiazide / olmesartan Breastfeeding Warnings

It is not known whether olmesartan is excreted into human milk, but olmesartan is secreted at low concentrations into the milk of lactating rats. Hydrochlorothiazide is secreted into human milk in low concentrations. Because of the potential for adverse effects on the nursing infant, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of hydrochlorothiazide-olmesartan therapy to the nursing mother.

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