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Are allergy medicines OK to take while pregnant?

By January 25, 2009 - 8:51am
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My sister-in-law is pregnant, and taking prescription allergy medicine (she has seasonal allergies, basically year-round!). She just told our family that she is pregnant (yeah!), and that her doctor said that continuing the medicine is not harmful to the growing baby.

I am wondering where I could find a list of approved drugs to take while pregnant, just so we can be "smart patients" and not just follow along with what the doctor says. She is taking Xyzal (spelling?) and allergy shots weekly.


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EmpowHER Guest

It is not true that pregnancy can not be used in the anti-allergic drugs. It happens that one day all of a sudden, especially in the spring there is with the runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, skin rashes.
It could be an allergy. 20-25% of women of childbearing age suffer from this problem. It is known that you can have a genetic predisposition to allergies,
that in the period of pregnancy, some women may develop.

read more :

October 15, 2014 - 3:27am

I also needed to use allergy medications during pregnancy, and after reading Coach Virginia's comment, I really did think twice about taking this medication. "I hope she makes the best decision for the baby" is very pointed at not caring about the mom, and is a guilt-ridden comment!

Because of this, I wanted to let the moms know that pregnancy is difficult, and you are feeling guilty no matter what you do. I was not able to breath at night because of my allergies, but was so bothered by the comment above that I tried not to take the medication (although all of my doctors OK'ed it). I want to make the best decision for my baby, obviously. That would mean not taking any medication, probably not driving because it is dangerous, sleeping well, eating well, exercising, not cleaning my house, etc. Well, please. We also need to live in the world, and we all use our common sense with knowledge and some benefits outweigh possible risks.

I decided to use my allergy medication. Guess what happened?! I was able to breathe. I slept better. I have a healthy baby. I know there are risks, and every mom must make a multitude of decisions every minute while she is pregnant. I just wanted to give those moms a voice:

I hope she makes the best decision for HER and the BABY.

August 15, 2010 - 8:33pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Here's a great idea!!! How about you MYOB and let your sister's OB guide her?

March 19, 2012 - 9:05am

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists the drugs women should not take while pregnant. There is no mention of the drug Xyzal. But you may want to visit their website anyway:

According to the FDA, Xyzal has been classified as a category B drug.
Therefore, this drug can be prescribed to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child. However, if your sister-in-law reads the safety/warnings information on this drug, she may consider not taking it while she is pregnant and later breastfeeding. http://allergies.emedtv.com/xyzal/xyzal-warnings-and-precautions.html

When there is not studies or data is available about effects of drugs in human fetus, it is safer to stay away from them to avoid harming the baby. I personally do not like the side effects when I read the information on the link I am providing here.

Hope she makes the most best decision for the baby.

January 25, 2009 - 10:55pm

I just looked up two popular allergy medications at the OTIS website (described in my other post on this page), and here's what I found:

Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) for congestion and allergies has a Fact Sheet says, "When possible, pseudoephedrine should be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, if you have already used pseudoephedrine
in the first trimester [for instance, many women do not know they are pregnant for weeks and may take this OTC], the risk of birth defects for the developing baby, if any, is very small." It is recommended to use a saline solution instead for nasal congestion.

Another type of allergy medication, oral antihistamines, were not listed on the OTIS Fact Sheet. From the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), there are different types of antihistamines (loratadine, for example, is known as Claritin; whereas chlorpheniramine is known as Chlor-Trimaton). The AAAAI states that there are different implications based on how long the drug has been around (and, thus, moe time to study effects). First generation antihistamines (Chlor-Trimaton, for example) have been better studied versus the second generation antihistamines (Claritin).

Your sister-in-law can search using the term:
"possible teratogenic effects" (fancy word for birth defects) for more information; ask her doctor about what "pregnancy category" the drug(s) are in and/or talk to her pharmacy to see what resources they can provide.

January 25, 2009 - 4:29pm

The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) provides a Categories of Drug Use in Pregnancy (much like the "Schedule of Drugs" that we hear about), and I provided the categories below. You can find out which medicines (both OTC and prescription) that are being prescribed, and check to see which category they fall into (A, B, C, D, X). This is one gauge. http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2001/301_preg.html#categories

Organization of Teratology Information Services' (OTIS) Asthma Medications and Pregnancy Project www.otispregnancy.org also is an excellent, credible resource.

Categories of Drugs in Pregnancy
A = Adequate, well-controlled studies in pregnant women have not shown an increased risk of fetal abnormalities.

B = Animal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
Animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.

C =Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
No animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.

D = Studies, adequate well-controlled or observational, in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy may outweigh the potential risk.

X = Studies, adequate well-controlled or observational, in animals or pregnant women have demonstrated positive evidence of fetal abnormalities. The use of the product is contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant.

January 25, 2009 - 3:53pm
EmpowHER Guest

Most research that I found suggests that there are not many drugs that are healthy to take during pregnancy. The main reason is that clinical studies cannot be performed on pregnant woman due to the chances of birth defects.

The Mayo Clinic does provide some information on allergy medication such as Claritin that is considered to be relatively safe for pregnant women but cautions and says to consult with your physician before taking any medications while pregnant. You can find that information here http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/allergy-medications/AN00314.

On the other hand, Medscape.com indicated that Benadryl is the only safe medication to take while pregnant. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/466150

I think your best option to consult with your physician. I hope this information is helpful.

January 25, 2009 - 10:11am
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