Drugs to Avoid During Pregnancy


Self-medication and taking medication on the advice of someone other than a doctor is the most common trend these days that has proven to be very dangerous and harmful. As a result of this practice, patients reach the doctor with multiorgan failure like kidney failure, liver failure, and other problems.

Calling self-medication a curse will not be wrong. This malpractice should be avoided as a whole, especially during pregnancy because some drugs are contraindicated during pregnancy. The pregnant woman should consult the doctor every time before taking any medicine to avoid damage to herself and her growing fetus in her womb.

As the rules for medication for pregnancy are constantly changing, it can be difficult to know what to do when you are feeling sick.

This usually involves weighing the benefits for a mother with a health problem – even as simple as a headache – against the potential risks to her developing baby.

The problem: Scientists cannot ethically perform drug tests on a pregnant woman. It is not correct to say that a drug is 100 percent safe for a pregnant woman (just because it has never been studied or tested). Below is a sample of some of the medications that pregnant women should avoid.

· Chloramphenicol.

· Cipro and levofloxacin.

· Sulfonamides such as trimethoprim.

· Tetracycline.

· Primaquine.

· Codeine.

· Ibuprofen.

· Warfarin (Coumadin).

· Clonazepam.

· Lorazepam.

Antibiotics are often linked to side effects in pregnant women.


Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic that is usually given by injection. This medicine can cause serious blood problems and ‘gray baby syndrome’.

Intravenous chloramphenicol use has been linked to something called “gray baby syndrome”.

This phenomenon occurs in newborns because they do not yet have fully functional liver enzymes (i.e. UDP-glucuronyl transferase), so chloramphenicol remains unmetabolized in the body. body. This causes several side effects, including hypotension and cyanosis.

Ciprofloxacin and Levofloxacin

Ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin are also types of antibiotics. These drugs could cause problems with the baby’s muscles and skeletal growth, as well as joint pain and potential nerve damage in the mother. Ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin are both fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

Fluoroquinolones may increase the risk of aortic tears or ruptures, according to one study. This can lead to potentially fatal bleeding. People with a history of aneurysm or certain heart conditions may be at increased risk of side effects.

Fluoroquinolones may also increase the risk of miscarriage, according to a 2017 study.


Sulfonamides are a group of antibiotic drugs. They are also known as sulfonamides. The majority of these types of drugs are used to kill germs and treat bacterial infections. They can cause jaundice in newborns. Sulfonamides also increase the risk of miscarriage.

Trimethoprim or Bactrim / Septran (Primsol) is a type of antibiotic. When taken during pregnancy, this drug can cause neural tube defects. These defects affect the development of the brain in a developing baby.


It is well known that the use of a tetracycline in the second or third trimester of pregnancy can discolor the developing “baby teeth” of the unborn baby and prevent enamel from forming properly. This means that when the baby’s milk teeth come out, they may be stained gray, brown, or yellow. However, the baby’s second set of “permanent teeth” will not be affected.

· Effects on bone growth

Tetracyclines taken during pregnancy will accumulate in the bones of the developing baby and there is concern that this could affect the baby’s bone growth as tetracyclines have a chelating property which means they will chelate / bind calcium in the gastrointestinal tract. defect of teeth and bones “.

· Can taking a tetracycline during pregnancy cause a miscarriage?

Only one study found that pregnant women taking doxycycline or minocycline may have a higher risk of miscarriage compared to women taking other types of antibiotics.


Primaquine is a medicine used to treat malaria. There is not a lot of data on humans who have taken this drug during pregnancy, but animal studies suggest that it is harmful to developing fetuses. It can damage the blood cells of the fetus.


Codeine is a prescription drug used for pain relief. In some states, codeine can be purchased without a prescription as a cough medicine. The drug has the potential to become addictive. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms in newborns.

Ibuprofen (Imol):

High doses of this over-the-counter pain reliever can cause many serious problems including miscarriage, delayed onset of labor, premature closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus – a large artery, hemorrhagic jaundice for both mother and child. baby, necrotizing enterocolitis (damage to the lining of the intestines), oligohydramnios (low levels of fetal kernicterus amniotic fluid), a type of brain injury, abnormal levels of vitamin K, etc.

Most experts agree that ibuprofen is probably safe in low to moderate doses during early pregnancy. However, it is especially important to avoid ibuprofen during the third trimester of pregnancy. At this stage of pregnancy, ibuprofen is more likely to cause heart defects in a developing baby.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Warfarin (Coumadin) is a blood thinner used to treat and prevent blood clots. It can cause birth defects. It should be avoided during pregnancy unless the risk of a blood clot is more dangerous than the risk of harming the baby.

Clonazepam (Petril)

Clonazepam (Petril) is used to prevent seizures and panic disorders. It is sometimes prescribed to treat anxiety attacks or panic attacks. Taking clonazepam during pregnancy may cause withdrawal symptoms in newborns.

Lorazepam (Ativan)

Lorazepam (Ativan) is a drug commonly used for anxiety or other mental health disorders. It can cause birth defects or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a baby after birth.

Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs are categorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) based on risk.

FDA labeling

Previously, drugs were classified into five letter categories A, B, C, D and X according to their level of risk.

Category A

This was the safest class of drugs to take, as controlled studies show no risk to the fetus in the first and last trimesters.

Category B

Animal studies have not shown adverse effects in fetuses, but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women.

Category C

Animal studies have shown adverse effects on the fetuses and there are no controlled studies in women. Medicines in this category are administered with caution, only if the benefit justifies the potential risk.

Category D

Evidence of fetal risk exists with animal or human studies. Drugs in this category can still be used if the benefits outweigh the risks, for example in a life-threatening situation.

Category X

Adverse effects have been confirmed by animal or human studies or adverse effects have been demonstrated in the public. The risk of the drugs outweighs any benefit. Medicines in this category should never be used in pregnant women.

New FDA labeling system:

In 2015, the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) or FDA began implementing a new labeling system for drugs.

An important note about the new labeling system is that it does not affect over the counter (OTC) drugs in any way. It is only used for prescription drugs.


The first subsection of the new label is titled “Pregnancy”. This subsection includes relevant data about the drug, information about the risks, and information on how the drug may affect labor or delivery. If there is a reliable pregnancy exposure registry source for the drug information in the registry (and its findings), it will also be included in this subsection.

Pregnancy exposure registries are studies that collect information about different drugs and their possible effects on pregnant women, breastfeeding women and their babies. These records are not kept by the FDA.

Women who wish to participate in a pregnancy exposure registry can volunteer, but participation is not required.


The second subsection of the new label is titled “Lactation”. This part of the label includes information for women who are breastfeeding. Information such as how much of the medicine will be in breast milk and the potential effects of the medicine on a nursing infant is provided in this section. Relevant data is also included.

Females and males of childbearing age

The third subsection of the new label is titled “Women and Males of Childbearing Age”. This section includes information on whether women using the medicine should be tested for pregnancy or use specific methods of contraception. It also includes information on the effect of the drug on fertility.

The bottom line

If you are unsure whether it is safe to take medicine during pregnancy, ask your doctor. Also ask about updated studies, as the labels of pregnancy medications may change with new research.

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