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Review Article Open Access
Pregnancy is a special physiological condition where drug treatment presents a special concern because the physiology of pregnancy affects the pharmacokinetics of medications used and certain medications can reach the fetus and cause harm. Total avoidance of pharmacological treatment in pregnancy is not possible and may be dangerous because some women enter pregnancy with medical conditions that require ongoing and episodic treatment (e.g. asthma, epilepsy, hypertension). Also during pregnancy new medical problems can develop and old ones can be exacerbated (e.g. migraine, headache) requiring pharmacological therapy. The fact that certain drugs given during pregnancy may prove harmful to the unborn child is one of the classical problems in medical treatment. In 1960's pregnant ladies who ingested thalidomide gave birth to children with phocomalia. Various other examples of teratogenic effects of drugs are known. It has been documented that congenital abnormalities caused by human teratogenic drugs account for less than 1% of total congenital abnormalities. Hence in 1979, Food and Drug Administration developed a system that determines the teratogenic risk of drugs by considering the quality of data from animal and human studies. FDA classifies various drugs used in pregnancy into five categories, categories A, B, C, D and X. Category A is considered the safest category and category X is absolutely contraindicated in pregnancy. This provides therapeutic guidance for the clinician. This article focuses on various aspects relating to drug use during pregnancy.
Teratogenic drugs, physiology of pregnancy, FDA categories of drugs, drug use in pregnancy