What drugs should be avoided during pregnancy?

Among the most frequently asked questions that a woman asks herself both in anticipation of conception and during pregnancy is certainly one concerning the possibility of taking medication during pregnancy

Advice on medication during pregnancy

Of all the various types of drugs, some should be carefully avoided, others should be replaced with safer ones if there is a pathology that requires pharmacological intervention in the mother-to-be, and some should be avoided instead, as a matter of utmost precaution.

In some cases it is necessary to take a pregnancy test before deciding to start taking a drug.

Here is a list of some drugs that should be avoided in anticipation of and during pregnancy, especially in the first three months:

  • ACE inhibitors
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), NOT occasional use
  • Paroxetine
  • Danazol
  • Benzodiazepines (at high doses)
  • Systemic retinoids (for isotretinoin it is necessary to wait several months before conceiving because it accumulates in the body)
  • Hormones with androgenic action
  • Thalidomide (recently reintroduced in haematology and oncology. Only start after a negative pregnancy test)
  • Vitamin A (in high doses)
  • Anti-epileptics
  • Coumarinics (start only after negative pregnancy test)
  • Angiotensin II inhibitors
  • Fluconazole (high doses)
  • Systemic steroids
  • Ergotamine (high doses)
  • Lithium (start only after negative pregnancy test)
  • Methotrexate (start only after negative pregnancy test)
  • Anti-cancer (start only after negative pregnancy test)
  • Sulpha-trimethoprim
  • Methimazole

Which drugs can be taken during pregnancy

If you occasionally take medication of any kind and are trying to become pregnant, always ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can take it, even non-prescription drugs.

In the pre-conception period, i.e. the period before conception, precautionary behaviour should be the same as during pregnancy.

If you are planning to become pregnant, tell your doctor about the drugs you are taking, even if only occasionally (including over-the-counter drugs), to decide whether it is appropriate to take them or to change the type of therapy if it is really necessary, because few drugs are really safe in anticipation of, or during, pregnancy.

In general, drugs should only be taken when they are really needed, and this recommendation applies even more so before and during pregnancy, because they can cause malformations and damage in the baby to be born.

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