How Much Risk Using Class C Drugs During Pregnancy?

Cynthia Flynn's picture
Experts: 

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.