How Much Risk Using Class C Drugs During Pregnancy?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
A friend just discovered that she is pregnant (implantation this past Thursday.) She has been on a class C weight loss drug and though she stopped it as soon as she realized that she might be pregnant she is terrified of the possibility of cardiovascular/neurological complications.

I understand that Class C drugs have shown contraindications in animal studies but not in humans -- though she said that her information said that 54 infants (out of how many was not made clear) showed cardiovascular malformation. Have you any idea how great the risk -- i.e. the statistical odds -- are of such complications?

ANSWER

The risk is specific to each drug, and she can find out the risk for the particular drug she was taking by contacting the Centers for Disease Control. The fact that she stopped the medication so soon is in her favor.

That said, the risk for her child is either 100% or 0%, and only an ultrasound at about 20 weeks can say which. The message here is that if you are taking any medications, you should know their possible effect on pregnancy unless you are using *very* good contraception.

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.

Comments

Class C Drugs

Interesting. I was given Tamiflu (class c drug) because I've been "exposed" to H1N1. Yes. Thet are prescribing class c drugs for expectant moms.. all "backed" by the cdc! :(

This "answer" made me feel even worse for being suckered in by so-called "professionals"

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.