Posts Tagged ‘Treating for Two’

Treating for Two: Medication safety before and during pregnancy

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

 

During National Women’s Health Week this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) wants to raise awareness about the safety of medicines before and during pregnancy. March of Dimes supports them with this important message.

Many women wonder about the safety of medications during pregnancy. This is a great question that should be addressed. However the information to make educated decisions at times is limited. With this in mind, the CDC revamped their Treating for Two website to make this information easier to access.

Treating for Two is a program that provides information and resources to help women and their health care providers decide together what medication is best. CDC created this website to help close this information gap and to provide evidence-based guidance. This program will support shared decision making among women and their providers regarding medication safety before, during and after pregnancy.

According to the CDC, 9 out of 10 women in the United States take a medication during pregnancy. Chances are that you may need to take a medication during pregnancy or during the first weeks of pregnancy, when you might not even know that you are pregnant. Make sure you always discuss with your provider the safety of the medications he or she prescribes to you. Let him know if you think you are pregnant or if you have been trying to get pregnant. Some medications may cause premature birth, birth defects, neonatal abstinence syndrome (also called NAS), miscarriage, developmental disabilities and other health problems.

What can you do?

If you need to take medications during pregnancy, discuss with your provider all your concerns. Also make sure you:

  • Take the medication exactly as your provider says to take it.
  • Don’t take it with alcohol or other drugs. (Don’t take alcohol or drugs if you are pregnant.)
  • Don’t take someone else’s medication.
  • Don’t stop taking a prescription medicine without talking to your provider first.
  • Ask your provider if you need to switch your medication to one that is safer during your pregnancy.
  • Discuss with your provider all the medications you take, like: over-the-counter medicines, herbal and dietary supplements and vitamins.

For more information about prescription and over-the counter medications visit marchofdimes.org

Opioids and birth defects–an update

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Prescription opioids are painkillers your health care provider may prescribe if you’ve been injured or had surgery. Prescription opioids include:pills

  • Codeine and hydrocodone (brand name Vicodin®)
  • Fentanyl (brand name Actiq®, Duragesic®, Sublimaze®)
  • Morphine (brand names Kadian®, Avinza®)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®)
  • Tramadol (brand names ConZip®, Ryzolt®, Ultram®)

Heroin also is an opioid.

Using opioids during pregnancy can cause problems for your baby, including:

  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (also called NAS). NAS happens when a baby is exposed to a drug in the womb before birth and goes through withdrawal from the drug after birth. NAS most often is caused when a woman takes opioids during pregnancy. NAS can cause serious problems for a baby, like being born too small and having breathing problems. Even if you use an opioid exactly as your health care provider tells you to, it may cause NAS in your baby.
  • Birth defects.
  • Premature birth.
  • Preterm labor. Quitting opioids suddenly (going cold turkey) during pregnancy can cause preterm labor. Preterm labor can lead to premature birth.
  • Stillbirth.

Recently the CDC’s Treating for Two: Safer Medication Use in Pregnancy researchers reviewed a number of studies that had already been published regarding opioid use during pregnancy and birth defects. They found that the studies did show that using opioids during pregnancy may be linked to birth defects including cleft lip and cleft palate, congenital heart defects, and clubfoot. But many of the studies they looked at had problems with the way the study was done and the quality of the study.

According to the CDC, “More research is needed to understand the connections between individual types of opioids and specific birth defects. Until more is known, women of childbearing age and their healthcare providers should discuss risks and benefits when considering opioid treatment.”

If you are taking a prescription opioid, or any other medication during pregnancy remember:

  • Don’t take more medicine than your health care provider says you can take.
  • Don’t take it with alcohol or other drugs.
  • Don’t use someone else’s prescription medicine.

If you’re pregnant and need help to stop using opioids, taking drugs like methadone or buprenorphine may help you quit. These drugs can help you reduce your need for opioids in a way that’s safe for you and your baby. Talk to your health care provider to see if this kind of treatment is right for you.

If you need help to stop abusing prescription drugs, talk to your health care provider. Or contact:

Have questions? Send them to our Health Education Specialists at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Antidepressant use and what it means for pregnant women

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Doctor with womanMore than 15% of reproductive-aged women have filled a prescription for an antidepressant medication during the years 2008-2013 according to a new analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An antidepressant is a medication used to treat depression. Some commonly used antidepressants are sertraline (Zoloft), bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), and citalopram (Celexa).

Why is this important?

There is conflicting evidence about the potential link between some antidepressants and certain birth defects.  Antidepressant medication use during pregnancy has been increasing in the U.S. Given that 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned, antidepressant use may  occur during the first weeks of pregnancy, a critical time for fetal development.

Further research on antidepressant safety during pregnancy is needed so that health care providers can advise women about the potential risks and benefits of using certain antidepressants before, during and between pregnancies.

What is being done?

The CDC’s initiative, Treating for Two: Safer Medication Use in Pregnancy, provides women and their health care providers with reliable and accessible information on common medication used during pregnancy. The CDC aims to expand and accelerate research on prescription antidepressant use during pregnancy so that women have up-to-date information and providers can make informed treatment decisions and prescribe the safest medications.

What can you do?

If you are thinking about pregnancy or are  pregnant, speak with your prenatal care provider about any medications you are taking.

If you’re taking an antidepressant and find out you’re pregnant, don’t stop taking the medicine without talking to your provider first. Not taking your medicine may be harmful to your baby, and it may make your depression come back.

Bottom line

Talk with all of your providers about the benefits and risks of taking an antidepressant during pregnancy and decide together on your treatment plan.