OTC Medication Use In Pregnancy: Wise or Worrisome?
How Should I Approach Medication Use in Pregnancy?
Women who are just starting to plan a pregnancy should discuss the need for medications with their doctor beforehand. For women with chronic conditions such as asthma, epilepsy or heart conditions, medication may need to be continued throughout pregnancy.
Can I Take My Regular Medications in Pregnancy?
For some conditions, such as asthma or epilepsy, the risk of NOT taking the medicine might be more harmful to you or your baby than the risk of continuing the medication.
How Common is Medication Use During Pregnancy?
This raises concern as some medications used during organogenesis (the time period of organ development in the first 12 weeks) can be associated with developmental abnormalities. Although animal studies can provide some information about drug toxicity in pregnancy, these results cannot be safely extrapolated to humans.
What Do the FDA Pregnancy Risk Categories Mean?
Most drugs fall in category C, meaning either animal studies reveal adverse effects on the fetus and there are no controlled studies in women; or studies are not available. Drugs in category C should be given only if the benefit to the mother justifies the potential risk to the fetus as determined by a physician.
Aren't All Drugs Tested for Safety in Pregnancy?
Is Tylenol Safe?
Follow the dosing directions. High doses of acetaminophen can be toxic to the liver or kidney. Acetaminophen is found in many combination cough, cold and flu OTC medicines. Be sure not to double up on your acetaminophen dose or take medications you don't need.
Beware with Aspirin Use
My Back Aches: NSAID Safety in Pregnancy
NSAIDs should NOT be used in the third trimester of pregnancy unless specifically prescribed by your doctor. Like aspirin, NSAIDs may interfere with the closure of the ductus arteriosis in the baby's heart. Acetaminophen is the pain and fever reliever of choice in pregnancy.
Drug Use in Pregnancy: Cough Suppressants
Cough lozenges are safe, or a soothing drink of honey, lemon and warm water may help.
The Stuffy Nose and Pregnancy: What to Do?
Alternatives to oral decongestants, like nasal saline solutions (Ayr) or a decongestant spray (Neo-Synephrine) may be safer options, but limit use of decongestant sprays to no more than 3 days in a row to prevent rebound congestion.
Caffeine: Can I Still Have My Latte?
General Use of Vitamin and Herbal Supplements
Prenatal vitamins that contain iron, calcium and folic acid are important in pregnancy, so don't skip those supplements. Regular over-the-counter supplements may not have the right dose of vitamins you need, so ask your doctor for recommendations.
It's Flu Season - Should I Get a Shot?
If you're planning a pregnancy, talk to your health care provider beforehand about any vaccines you may need. Live vaccines should be given at least a month before attempting to get pregnant.
Is Any Amount of Alcohol Okay in Pregnancy?
Regular use or large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can result in birth defects, and behavioral or learning problems. Be sure to check over-the-counter medication bottles for the presence of alcohol. If you are concerned about avoiding alcohol intake during your pregnancy, speak with a health care provider as soon as possible.
Pregnancy During Allergy Season
Can I Use My Acne Medication?
Prescription Retin A, either taken by mouth (isotretinion) or used as a cream (tretinoin), should not be used in pregnancy due to the risk of birth defects.
Stomach Symptoms in Pregnancy
In the Outdoors: How to Stay Bug-Free.
Finished: OTC Medication Use In Pregnancy: Wise or Worrisome?
- Mitchell AA, Gilboa SM, Werler MM, Kelley KE, Louik C, Hernandez-Diaz S, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Medication use during pregnancy, with particular focus on prescription drugs: 1976-2008. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011;205:51.e1-8.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult Vaccination. Pregnant Women. Accessed May 19, 2013 at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/pregnant.html
- Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ, eds. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medications and Pregnancy. Updated March 14, 2103. Accessed June 25, 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/meds/
- Black R, Hill A. Over-the-counter medications in pregnancy. American Family Physician. 2003;67:2517-24. Accessed June 24, 2013. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0615/p2517.html
- Erebara A, et al. The Hospital for Sick Children. Mother Risk. Treating the Common Cold During Pregnancy. May 2008. Accessed June 23, 2013. http://www.motherisk.org/women/updatesDetail.jsp?content_id=881
- Nakhai-Pour, H. et al. Use of nonaspirin nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs during pregnancy and the risk of spontaneous abortion. CMAJ 2011;DOI:10.1503 /cmaj.110454 Accessed June 23, 2013. http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2011/09/06/cmaj.110454.full.pdf
- Cabbage LA, Neal JL. Over-the-counter medications and pregnancy: An integrative review. Nurse Practitioner: The American Journal of Primary Healthcare. June 2011;36:22-8. Accessed June 24, 2013. http://journals.lww.com/tnpj/toc/2011/06000
- Black RA, et al. Over-the-counter medications in pregnancy. American Family Physician 2003;67:2517-24. Accessed June 23, 2013 at http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0615/p2517.html
- MotherToBaby. Organization of Teratology Information Specialists. Fact Sheets. Accessed June 23, 2013. http://www.mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets-s13037#1
- Kar S, et al. A review of antihistamines used during pregnancy. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012 Apr-Jun; 3(2): 105–108http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356948/