Can I use non-prescription drugs (OTC) during pregnancy? (Consultation)

Apr 29, 2016 | | Say something

Can I use non-prescription drugs (OTC) during pregnancy? (Consultation) ; OTC drugs pregnancy

I’m in my first trimester of pregnancy. I have heard that pregnant women can take counter medicines for common health problems such as back pain, cold, cough, etc. However, my friend said that these drugs can cause various health complications, including fetal abnormalities? I suffer from severe back pain and cough. Can I use painkillers and cough medicines that are available without a prescription? Please help.

Dr. Uma Vaidyanathan , Senior Consultant obstetrician gynecologist, Max Hospital, New Delhi, says’ One should never take any medication without consulting a doctor. It was too late, there have been cases of pregnant women taking over the counter medications for common problems like fever , back pain, cough, etc. However, it is not advisable even take acetaminophen or paracetamol during pregnancy without a prescription. Therefore, if you have been taking any medication without consulting your doctor, stop now and contact your doctor immediately. Also, avoid these eight common mistakes all pregnant women do.

There has been little research on the risk of safety-counter medications in pregnant women or the developing fetus. Counter medications commonly taken during pregnancy are for conditions like allergy condition, respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin. While some studies claim that the use of drugs to address cough , stomach pain and complications are considered safe for short-term use during first quarter [1] it is not advisable to take any medication, even paracetamol without medical advice. According to a 2016 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology it has revealed that the use of paracetamol during pregnancy may result asthma in infants [2]. Here are 5 tips to prevent cough and cold during pregnancy .

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Moreover, you should never take any medicine unless necessary during pregnancy and also with the doctor’s prescription, as these drugs can cross the placenta and affect the fetus, along with deployment of the nutrients needed for normal growth and development of the fetus [3]. Also, if you have been taking any medications before pregnancy, always consult your doctor if it is safe to continue with the drug during pregnancy. Even multivitamins and iron supplements or calcium should be taken only after consulting the doctor and not on the counter, explains Dr. Uma.

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References:

  1. Servey J, J. Chang Over-the-Counter medications in pregnancy. Am Fam Physician. 15 October 2014; 90 (8): 548-55. PubMed PMID: 25369643.
  2. Magnus MC, Karlstad Ø, Haberg SE, Nafstad P, Davey Smith G, Nystad W. prenatal paracetamol exposure and childhood asthma and development: Mother and Child Norwegian study cohorts. Int J Epidemiol. 9. February 2016 pii: dyv366. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26861478.
  3. Sachdeva P, BG Patel, Patel BK. Drug use in pregnancy; a point to ponder! Indian J Pharm Sci 2009 Jan.; 71 (1): 1-7. doi: 10.4103 / 0250-474X.51941. PubMed PMID: 20177448; PubMed Central PMCID :. PMC2810038
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Posted in: Expert speak, Medications, OTC medication, pregnancy, Pregnancy guide

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