Treating For Two: Safer Medication Use In Pregnancy
In collaboration with federal and external partners, CDCs Treating for Two initiative is a national strategy to improve the health of mothers and babies through better research, reliable guidance, and informed decisions related to medication treatment in pregnancy.
- Research: CDC funds the Centers for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, which collaborate on large studies such as the National Birth Defects Prevention Study and the Birth Defects Study To Evaluate Pregnancy exposures . Researchers engaging in these studies work to identify factors that increase the risk for birth defects and to answer questions about the effects of some medications taken during pregnancy.
- Technical expertise: CDC works with staff from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other professionals to help conduct studies on the effects of medication use during pregnancy and ways to prevent harmful effects.
- Collaboration: As part of the Treating for Two: Safer Medication Use in Pregnancy Initiative pdf icon, CDC is committed to working with its partners, other federal agencies, and the public to build a comprehensive approach to improve the quality of data on medication use during pregnancy, translate this information into safe and effective health care for pregnant women, and make this information easily accessible to women and their healthcare providers.
Is It Safe For A Pregnant Woman To Take Loratadine
Loratadine is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose.
Loratadine is used to treat sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, skin rash, itching, and other cold or allergy symptoms. Loratadine is also used to treat skin hives and itching in people with chronic skin reactions. Women in their childbearing years often require drug therapy for allergic conditions and loratadine is often used because of its preferred milder side effects.
Is It Safe For A Pregnant Woman To Take Loratadine?
Although a study published in theJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunologysuggest that loratadine use in pregnancy is not associated with a large risk for major malformations the use of this drug during pregnancy should only be considered if the benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus. Doctors usually tell women to avoid medicines during pregnancy, if possible, especially during the first 3 months. That is when a babys organs form.
It can be hard to know if a medicine is safe for your baby. Most medicines are not studied in pregnant women. Thats because researchers worry about how the medicines might affect the baby. But some medicines have been taken for so long by so many women that doctors have a good idea of how safe they are. Talk to your doctor or midwife before you take any medicines.
Can Taking Loratadine During Pregnancy Cause Learning And Behavioral Problems In The Child
The development of the brain of the child occurs until the later stages of pregnancy, so the consumption of a harmful drug at any time of pregnancy may cause similar problems. However, consuming loratadine in the third trimester of pregnancy or at any time of the pregnancy has not been found to have any such effects, like ADHD or autism spectrum disorder, in the child.
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Are Decongestants Safe During Pregnancy
Allergies plague many of us every year. In fact, one in five adults suffers from allergies. Allergens are often called hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, and the most common symptoms are sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose and itchiness in the mouth, throat, eyes or ears. Allergies often do not stop when women become pregnant the question of whether the use of decongestants are safe during pregnancy is often an unclear answer to many women suffering from allergies.
Over-the-counter decongestants are, for the most part, safe during pregnancy, physicians advise. Most decongestants do not contain enough medication to cause problems with baby, especially if used for short periods. Nasal spray decongestants are even safer since the medication is almost entirely absorbed within the nose and does not travel through the body. As a general rule, physicians advise patients if they can buy it without visiting the pharmacy counter, short-term use will not harm the baby during pregnancy.
Many health care providers recommend using medication that is considered a Category B drug, such as a decongestant or an antihistamine when allergies strike. Category B drugs have been shown through animal testing to not harm an unborn baby when the mother takes the medication during pregnancy. If a runny nose is more of a problem than a congested one, antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, loratadine or cetirizine are all safe to take during pregnancy.
What If I Take Claritin Before Realizing Im Pregnant
Claritin is a very common over-the-counter medication for allergies, so its quite possible you took it before realizing you were pregnant. Because Claritin doesnt pose a risk for pregnant people, its OK that you did.
If you took Claritin before realizing you were pregnant and experienced the common side effects, you may want to let your OBGYN know this. While Claritin is generally considered safe, every pregnancy is different and every body is different, and those side effects that you couldnt pinpoint before could pose more of a risk later on. Always let your primary healthcare provider know of any medications youre taking, whether over-the-counter or prescription.
Not only have experts said that Claritin is safe while pregnant, but further studies have also confirmed this. A study from 2010 took a closer look at the safety and efficacy of antihistamines during pregnancy and found no issues.
Claritin, which this study refers to as a second-generation antihistamine because it doesnt cause drowsiness, was shown to be safe. The research did acknowledge, though, that at the time there was less data backing this particular drug class as opposed to first-generation antihistamines .
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How To Safely Take Your Medicine During Pregnancy
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Never take any medication, supplement or herbal remedy without checking with your health care provider first. A few more tips to keep in mind:
If you have questions about how or when to take a medication, always talk to your practitioner first.
Figuring out what’s safe and what’s not safe to take during pregnancy can be difficult. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone.
Who Can And Cannot Take Loratadine
Adults and children aged 2 years and older can take loratadine.
Loratadine is not suitable for some people. To make sure it’s safe for you, tell your doctor or pharmacist before taking loratadine if you:
- have ever had an allergy to loratadine or any other medicines
- have severe liver failure
- have an allergy to food additives
- have epilepsy or another illness that puts you at risk of seizures or fits
- are due to have an allergy test taking loratadine may affect the results, so you might need to stop taking it a few days before the test
Watch The Pollen Count
Primarily, pollens in the air cause spring allergies. Pollens come primarily from trees and grasses. When pollen grains get into the nose, the immune system mistakenly labels them as foreign and releases antibodies to attack these allergens.
That leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger runny noses, itchy eyes and other symptoms.
Avoiding triggers is the first and best option, although it is admittedly difficult. Pollens circulate more on windy days. The higher the pollen count, the more miserable one will be. Many cities publicize daily pollen counts. When counts are high or when it is windy, keep windows and doors closed. If possible, stay inside.
About Antihistamines And This Study
Antihistamines include both prescription and over-the-counter medications. They typically are used to treat
- Asthma and/or allergies
- Indigestion .
About 10-15% of women report taking antihistamines during pregnancy.
About this study
Researchers reviewed more than 50 published scientific articles that looked at the link between antihistamine use during pregnancy and birth defects. They evaluated the articles based on certain criteria: how researchers selected their study populations, how researchers determined antihistamine use in pregnancy, and how researchers identified babies with birth defects.
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What If I Have Already Taken Loratadine During Pregnancy
If you have already consumed your allergy medication, including loratadine, dont stress out! Let your doctor know about it as soon as possible. Your doctor will decide whether it is okay for you to consume it and will work out the lowest possible dose required to get the effect of the medicine. The doctor will also ensure that you consume the tablet only for the required amount of time.
What Are Recommendations For Lactation If You’re Taking Loratadine
Because of its lack of sedation and low milk levels, maternal use of loratadine while breastfeeding would not be expected to cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants. Loratadine might have a negative effect on lactation, especially in combination with a sympathomimetic agent such as pseudoephedrine. The British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology recommends loratadine at its lowest dose as a preferred choice if an antihistamine is required during breastfeeding.
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Taking Hay Fever Medication In Pregnancy
If youre pregnant you should always try and seek advice from your GP or pharmacist before you take any sort of medication. Not all medications can be taken safely during pregnancy, as some may affect the development and growth of the baby.
If you have mild hay fever, or dont experience symptoms, its best to avoid taking medication, as its not necessary. Before taking medication there are some preventative measures that can be taken to avoid your exposure to pollen.
Can I Treat My Hayfever Safely While I’m Pregnant
- Dab petroleum jelly around your nose, to trap pollen before you can breathe it in.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen.
- Shower and change your clothes after spending a lot of time outdoors, especially before bed.
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- Keep doors and windows shut when possible.
- Vacuum your home regularly and use a damp cloth for dusting to trap pollen. A vaccum with a HEPA filter will remove pollen from the air, too.
- Don’t smoke, or allow people to smoke near you. This is good advice for every pregnant woman, as even second-hand smoke may harm your unborn baby.
Nasal sprays and eye dropsAntihistamine tablets
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Herbals And Dietary Supplements
During pregnancy, herbal remedies are used for nausea, respiratory symptoms, urinary tract infections, pain, and other nonspecific issues.40 However, there are few human data on the safety of herbal remedies in pregnancy. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 requires manufacturers to ensure the safety of supplements before marketing. However, there is no registration process with the FDA, which takes action only if a supplement is found to be unsafe after marketing.41 Herbals were not included in the NBDPS until the year 2000. According to a subanalysis of the NBDPS, 10.9% of women use herbals during pregnancy, most commonly peppermint, cranberry extract, herbal teas, ginger, chamomile, Echinacea, ginseng, raspberry leaf, and ephedra products.42
Avoid Certain Allergy Medications
Use of oral decongestants is associated with increased risk of birth defects. Some oral antihistamines, like Allegra , Benadryl , Chlor-Trimeton , Claritin , and Zyrtec appear to be safe after the first trimester, safe meaning they have caused no known harm in studies that have been done. Avoid antihistamines combined with a decongestant.
Nasal sprays, as prescribed or recommended by a doctor, are applied only in the nose. That means their effects do not go throughout the body like oral medications. However, avoid nasal spray decongestants. There is not enough evidence to indicate whether or not they are safe.
Dont start allergy shots during pregnancy. If women are already taking them when they become pregnant, they can continue.
The reality is, not taking any allergy medication is the best option. But for women whose allergy symptoms are leaving them sleepless and unable to function, taking medication with a doctors approval may be better for both them and the baby. Its important for women with allergic asthma to use their prescribed medication. Uncontrolled asthma can cause serious problems during pregnancy.
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Cough Cold And Allergy
It is very common for women to experience cough, cold, or allergy symptoms during pregnancy. The use of multiple OTC medications to treat these symptoms increases from the first to the third trimester. According to one study, 92.6% of the obstetric population interviewed self-medicated with OTC medications. The common cold is typically caused by numerous viruses and, therefore, is usually self-limiting. Pregnant women should be advised to first try nonpharmacologic treatments such as a saline nasal spray, the use of a humidifier, and increased hydration. The most commonly used cough, cold, and allergy products include antihistamines, decongestants, antitussives, and expectorants .
It appears that the older sedating antihistamines, also known as first-generation agents, are safe in pregnancy. The recommended first-line agent is chlorpheniramine , which is Category B. According to the Collaborative Perinatal Project, chlorpheniramine use during pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of malformations. Diphenhydramine is also an option in patients who need symptomatic relief from allergy or cold symptoms. It is also Category B and was not associated with an increased risk of malformations however, it can cross the placenta and has been reported to have possible oxytocin-like effects at high doses when used during labor.
Can Consuming Loratadine During Pregnancy Cause Birth Defects In The Baby
The organs of the baby are usually formed in the first trimester of pregnancy, and it is at this stage that many medicines have been shown to cause birth defects in the child. There have been three studies which investigated whether defects occur in such babies, but in all three, the babies came out just fine. However, all of the studies used less than 400 mothers, so the results cannot be conclusive. Only two studies have found a correlation between birth defects like shortened limb and consumption loratadine in the first trimester of pregnancy, but there have been other studies which stated that there is no correlation whatsoever. Therefore, it was concluded that loratadine does not cause any birth defects in the baby if consumed in the first trimester.
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Common Questions About Loratadine
Loratadine is a type of medicine called an antihistamine.
When you come into contact with something you have an allergy to, such as pollen, animal hair or fur, house dust or insect bites, your body produces a chemical called histamine.
Usually, histamine is a useful substance but in an allergic reaction it causes unpleasant symptoms including itchy, watery eyes, running or blocked nose, sneezing and skin rashes.
Loratadine blocks the effects of histamine and so reduces these symptoms.
Loratadine is a non-drowsy antihistamine, so it does not make you feel as sleepy as other medicines like it.
You should start to feel better within an hour.
It depends on why you’re taking it.
You may only need to take loratadine for a short time or as a one-off dose. If you have a reaction to an insect bite, you may only need to take loratadine for a day or two.
You may need to take it for longer if you’re taking it to prevent hay fever symptoms when the pollen count is high.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure how long you need to take loratadine for.
Loratadine is unlikely to do you any harm if you take it for a long time. However, it’s best to take it only for as long as you need to.
It’s best not to drink alcohol while you’re taking loratadine, as it can make you feel sleepy.
You can eat and drink normally while taking loratadine.
Loratadine is classed as a non-drowsy antihistamine but it’s still possible to feel sleepy after taking it.
Tips for when you’re outside
To Use Antihistamines During Pregnancy Or Not
It is important to weigh the benefits of treating allergy symptoms during pregnancy with the potential for unwanted side effects.
In women with asthma, treating allergy symptoms may decrease asthma symptoms and the need for extra asthma medicines. Allergy treatment can also lead to better sleep and emotional well-being.
Your doctor should always be your first port of call to discuss your symptoms and whether antihistamines are the right drugs for you while pregnant.
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Can Consuming Loratadine In Pregnancy Cause Miscarriage
Again, there has been no evidence which shows that loratadine can cause miscarriage in women. One of the two studies conducted on the matter concluded that there was no correlation. However, the other study concluded that women who consumed loratadine were twice as likely to have a miscarriage, but this could be explained by other factors as well which can have the same effect. The women in the second study were slightly older, and the assessment of the study was taken at a slightly earlier stage compared to the women in the first study.
Are There Any Risks To My Baby If The Father Has Taken Loratadine
No, there are no risks if the father has consumed the medicine before or around the time you got pregnant.
Loratadine has not been found to have any harmful effects on the child, even though extensive research on the topic is yet to be done. To be on a safe side, it is advised that you consult your doctor before consuming loratadine.
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