Drugs to avoid during pregnancy

Drugs are essential during pregnancy as well as other necessary times. However, when one is pregnant, use of drugs should ONLY BE at the direction of a physician. This is because some drugs have been known to gravely affect pregnancy as well as the unborn fetus. The Food and drugs administration have classified drugs into safety categories for use in pregnancy.

Here in this post, I will list drugs with known evidence of human fetal risks

Some Antibiotics

  • Aminoglycosides eg. Gentamicin, Amikacin: These, if used during pregnancy, can cause deafness.
  • Chloramphenical – Can cause ‘Gray baby syndrome’. A condition where baby is born with bluish discoloration of lips and skin, limp body, vomiting and low temperature
  • Floroquinolones Ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin – Can cause impaired bone growth
  • Nitrofurantoin – Can cause excessive bleeding
  • Primaquine – Can cause hemolysis (blood loss)
  • Streptomycin – Can cause hearing loss
  • Tetracycline – Slowed bone growth, permanent yellowing of the teeth
  • Trimethopim – Increased risk of neural tube defects

Anti-convulsants dangerous in pregnancy

  • Carbamazepine – Causes congenital malformations and heamorrhagic disease of newborn
  • Phenobarbital – Also cause heamorrhagic disease of newbprn
  • Phenytoin – Causes cleft lip, incompletely formed urethra

Other drugs to avoid include

  • Beta-blockers eg propranolol – Causes reduced fetal heart rate, hypoglycaemia and possible fetal growth restriction
  • Thiazide diuretics eg hydrochlorothiazide can prevent normal maternal volume expenasion reducing placental perfusion and contributing to fetal growth restrictions
  • Oral hypoglycemic drugs used for diabetes to be avoided include Chlorpropamide, Glyburide, Metformine, tolbutamide which can all cause neonatal hypoglycaemia

Common Aspirin also can cause spontaneous abortions and should be avoided during pregnancy

Non steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs eg Ibuprofen, diclofenac should be avoided too! This is because high doses in first trimester can cause spontaneous abortion, jaundice, oligohydraminos

A lot of this illness, am sure, sound real strange but scary. I don’t think any of us will like to find out what they actually look like.

And so, it is greatly advised that one you confirm you are pregnant, make sure you contact your doctor before you pop any pill.

***Article contributed by Dr. Jumoke Ige

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