This June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will release a revision to prescription guidelines--the first since 1979.   These new guidelines will provide  up-to-date and specific information to doctors about the risks and benefits of medication that pregnant women may need to control other conditions.   The rule of thumb over the years has just been to tough it out and not take any medicines that may (or may not) hurt the mother or the fetus. Research in this area is limited because pregnant women are excluded from most drug trials.  Dr. Katherine Wisner, WHRI Leadership Council Member and expert on mood disorders at Northwestern U, "Pregnant women get sick and sex women get pregnant.   But somehow we have created this myth of the medication-free pregnancy."   We've all heard stories about pregnant women who have serious depression and stop their meds---harming themselves or their baby because their condition is out of control. 

The old system used a scoring system of A, B, C, D, and X with ' X" being the most dangerous.  The new system will have three components:

  • Information on dosing and risks to the fetus
  • Known risks about the drug's impact on breast feeding (e.g. will it concentrate in the milk)
  • Drug's impact on fertility.

According to the CDC, about 90% of pregnant women are on at least one prescribed or OTC medication.  Providing doctors more labeling information with help them determine safe options for treatment and help women have a healthier pregnancy.. 

Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

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