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What Medications Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?

For a list of over the counter (OTC) medications with no proven harmful effects during pregnancy, please click here.

Some medications are especially harmful in the early weeks of pregnancy. They include:

  • The acne drug Accutane (also known as isotretinoin, Amnesteem and Claravis). http://www.motherisk.org/women/commonDetail.jsp?content_id=818
  • Certain psoriasis drugs such as Soriatane (acitretin). These drugs may be harmful even if taken up to three years before a woman becomes pregnant. This is why it's important to talk to a health care provider before you get pregnant.
  • Thalomid (thalidomide), used to treat multiple myeloma and some complications of AIDS and leprosy.

Other medications may be harmful when taken at any stage of pregnancy. For example, some common medications called ACE inhibitors can damage the baby's kidneys and even lead to death when taken during the second and third trimester. These drugs are used to treat high blood pressure in the mother. Examples are Captopril and Enalopril. http://www.motherisk.org/women/drugsDetail.jsp?category_id=151&title=ACE Inhibitors

According to a recent study, ACE inhibitors may also increase the risk of birth defects when taken in the first trimester. The birth defects most likely to occur affect the heart and nervous system.

Another commonly used class of medications has recently stirred concerned. SSRI (serotonin-reuptake inhibitors) if used in the first trimester,when organ formation occurs, have been linked to certain types of heart defects. Still, researchers say that the absolute risk is relatively low: 246 women would have to take such medication in order to see one septal heart defect.

Even some nonprescription medications may carry a risk, although it is generally small. For example, if a woman takes aspirin shortly before the day the baby is born, it can increase the risk of heavy bleeding in the mother and baby.

Consult Reprotox for more information at http://www.reprotox.org/Consumers.aspx?ref=me3oLtPpjQ.

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