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Zero Exposure Project, An Initiative of the Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County Information & Services - Prescription Drugs and Pregnancy
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Prescription Drugs & Pregnancy

Though grabbing an over the counter medication off the shelf is convenient, your doctor may be able to prescribe a drug that does the same job with a greater margin of safety. Many OTC cold remedies, for instance, are combinations of medicines — decongestants, cough suppressants, and antihistamines. If you've got a nasty cough and nothing else, having your doctor prescribe a cough suppressant, and nothing else, is a better bet. That way, you don't end up taking drugs you really don't need.

In general, older prescription drugs are a safer bet than the newest drugs on the market, simply because they've been used longer and we know more about them, he adds. Here's a list of some of the most commonly used drugs with cleaner, and not so clean, track records during pregnancy:

Safer prescription drugs

  • Antibiotics: Several major classes, including penicillin, cephalosporin, erythromycin, clindamycin
  • Asthma medications: Most inhaled medications, including inhaled steroids
  • Antacids: Many, including Zantac and Carafate
  • Antidepressants: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Celexa, and Zoloft (Paxil should be avoided); and tricyclic antidepressants, such as imipramine, sold as Tofranil, and amitriptyline, sold as Elavil
  • High blood pressure drugs: Several, including Aldomet, Normodyne, and Trandate

Less safe prescription drugs

  • Antibiotics: Tetracycline and Doxycycline (avoid after the first trimester), streptomycin and kanamycin
  • Antiseizure drugs: Carbamazepine, sold as Tegretol or Carbatrol, and valproic acid
  • Migraine medications: Ergotamine drugs such as Ergomar and Bellamine

Unsafe prescription drugs

  • Acne medications: Accutane and other oral vitamin A compounds
  • Arthritis drugs: Arthrotec
  • Blood thinners: Warfarin, sold as Coumadin
  • High blood pressure medications: ACE inhibitors such as Lotensin, Accupril, Monopril (Avoid after the first trimester.)
  • Ulcer medications: Misoprostol, sold as Cytotec

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

Content courtesy of American Baby.

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