Medications

Certain medications are important for your health, but some can cause birth defects if you become pregnant. If there is any chance that you could get pregnant, talk to your doctor about all of the medicines and supplements you are taking. Supplements include weight loss products, sport supplements, and herbal medicines. If you are taking medicines that could be dangerous if you get pregnant, be sure to use effective birth control.

Here are some of the medications that can cause birth defects and other problems. If you are not sure if you are taking one of these medications, talk to your doctor.  

  • Isotretinoins (Accutane)- used to treat acne
  • Anti-epileptic (anti-seizure) medications, such as Carbamazapine, Phenytoin, and Valproic acid
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)- a blood thinner
  • Some blood pressure medications including Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Some cholesterol medications including HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins)
  • Lithium- used to treat bipolar disorder and depression
  • Some antibiotics including Streptomycin, Kanamycin, and Tetracycline. Some antibiotics can also interfere with oral contraceptives, so use a back up method of birth control, such as condoms, while taking antibiotics to prevent pregnancy.
  • Thalidomide- used to treat erythema nodosum leprosum and certain types of cancers, such as multiple myeloma

To learn more about specific medications that can affect pregnancy, go to the CTIS Pregnancy website or call 1-800-532-3749.

You can also learn about medication safety and other women's health considerations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Women's Health.

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