Medications in Pregnancy and Lactation
Many women require drug treatment during pregnancy due to chronic conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), or asthma.
How are medications classified for pregnancy, lactation, and reproductive potential?
The FDA replaced the category lettering system with a new improved system to provide more meaningful information for patients and healthcare providers.
New labeling includes information for:
Females and Males of Reproductive Potential
While this new system is an improvement from the older lettering system, in many cases it does not provide “yes” or “no” answers. Often, clinical interpretation is needed from a provider or pharmacist.
Why the change?
Many women require drug treatment during pregnancy due to chronic conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), or asthma. To withhold drug treatment would be dangerous for both mother and baby.
In addition, women are having babies at a later age, which can boost the number of women with chronic conditions. Accessible and understandable pregnancy and lactation information is important for women and their health care provider’s to assess risk versus benefit.
This change essentially came about from requests over the years to improve the decades-old content and format of pregnancy prescription drug labeling since 1992.
What could this mean for you?
Please speak with your provider and/or your pharmacist when you learn you are pregnant. Your provider and pharmacist will interpret the new labeling information.
Please do not stop taking any medications without consulting with your healthcare provider.
Your provider will discuss risks vs benefits of continuing or discontinuing current therapies during pregnancy.
Should you continue taking your medication while pregnant? What is safe for you and your baby? These questions can cause anxiety so remember to reach out to your pharmacist, or primary care provider. They can effectively guide you through your pregnancy and help you make the decisions best for you and your growing family!