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fetus risk for women with lupus prednisone and birth defects

By Anonymous May 27, 2009 - 3:54pm
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Dear Anon, in addition to alysiak's response, here is what I know about steroids and drugs like Prednisone. The FDA puts this drug into the Pregnancy category C.

FDA suggests that Prednisone may be harmful to an unborn baby. Therefore you MUST tell your doctor if you planning to get pregnant and are taking this drug to treat your lupus condition. Some data shows that Prednisone can also pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. The most common risk when using Prednisone during pregnancy is the negative effect on growth rate of the fetus as Alysiak mentioned. But in my modest opinion there are probably additional side effects and risks for the developing fetus.

Any adult taking Predinisone-like drugs is warned about possible serious and not serious side effects like those listed below so imagine what this drug could potentially do to a baby or fetus who is still developing! Prednisone can also weaken the baby (or fetus) immune system, making it easier for him/her to get all sorts of infections later on in live.

1. Problems with vision;

2. Weight gain, changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).

3. Severe depression, unusual thoughts or behavior, seizure (convulsions);

4. Mood changes, sleep problems like insomnia

5. pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate);

6. Dry skin, thinning skin, bruising or discoloration of skin

7. Dangerous high blood pressure

This is not a complete list of side effects and your best option is to discuss your concerns with your doctor before you get pregnant or stop taking steroids for treating your lupus symptoms. Sudden stop of using this drug could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms too. You need to give your body time to adjust.

May 27, 2009 - 9:39pm

Hi, Anon:

I'm a long time lupus patient, as well. While prednisone can sometimes be necessary to get flares under control, it's not good to be on it for prolonged periods of time.

As far as potential birth defects:

The risk of birth defects in women taking corticosteroids during pregnancy has not been studied. Overuse of corticosteroids during pregnancy may slow the growth of the infant after birth. Animal studies have demonstrated that corticosteroids cause birth defects.

Corticosteroids pass into breast milk and may slow the infant's growth. If you are nursing or plan to nurse, be sure to discuss this with your physician. It may be necessary for you to stop nursing while taking this medication.
Source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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May 27, 2009 - 6:07pm
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