What allergy medicine is safe to take while pregnant

There are no data on the excretion of chlorpheniramine into human milk. However, because other antihistamines are excreted into human milk in low concentrations, the manufacturer recommends that caution be used when istering chlorpheniramine to nursing women.

See references

References for pregnancy information

  • Black RA, Hill DA «Over-the-counter medications in pregnancy.» Am Fam Physician 67 ():
  • «Product Information. Chlortrimeton (chlorpheniramine).» Schering-Plough, Liberty Corner, NJ.
  • Nelson MA, Forfar JO «Associations between drugs istered during pregnancy and congenital abnormalities of the fetus.» Br Med J 1 ():
  • Heinonen O, Slone D, Shapiro S; Kaufman DW ed.

    «Birth Defects and Drugs in Pregnancy.» Littleton, MA: Publishing Sciences Group, Inc. ():

References for breastfeeding information

References for breastfeeding information

  • «Product Information. Chlortrimeton (chlorpheniramine).» Schering-Plough, Liberty Corner, NJ.


Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

Drug use during pregnancy continues to remain a major concern due to the unknown effects on mom and fetus. Physicians are faced with hard situations as they own extremely little information to assist them decide whether the potential benefits to the mom outweigh the risks to the unborn fetus.

To assist guide physicians in their selection and interpretation of the risks associated with the drug, the FDA introduced a drug classification system in (TABLE 1). Most information provided in this classification is derived from animal studies and uncontrolled studies in humans such as postmarketing surveillance reports. To date, extremely few well-controlled studies own been conducted in pregnant women, most likely due to ethical considerations. Two significant limitations of the classification include:

  1. All new FDA-approved medications are classified as Category C
  2. There are no FDA regulations requiring further studies or seeking more data; therefore, changes in the classification are rare.

    In addition, the classification is often not changed when new data become available.

Approximately 20 to 30 of the most commonly used drugs are identified as teratogens, with 7% of the more than 1, medications listed in the Physicians Desk Reference classified as Category X.7 Some of the commonly used drugs with proven teratogenic effects in humans are warfarin, isotretinoin, valproic acid, and tetracycline antibiotics. The timing of fetal exposure to a drug is critical to the likelihood of an adverse effect occurring.

What allergy medicine is safe to take while pregnant

Most of the major body structures are formed during the first trimester, and exposure during this time could lead to structural teratogenic effects.8 Some drugs own diverse FDA categorizations based on the trimester of pregnancy.

As pharmacists, we frolic a vital role in educating and counseling pregnant women on the risks associated with a drug. Informing a pregnant lady of the risks and possible fetal defects can reduce the number of complications.

Furthermore, it is our responsibility to ensure that other health care professionals are familiar with the current literature available on the safety of drugs istered during pregnancy. This article will present a concise discussion of common medications used to treat pregnancy-associated conditions, including cough, freezing, and allergies; pain; and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders; as well as provide an update on the current immunization recommendations for pregnancy.


Study of Antihistamines in Pregnancy

A group of researchers from Boston Massachusetts and Singapore sought to determine the safety of antihistamines taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The researchers examined data collected over a year period of time, from to , on over 13, babies born with birth defects, and compared them to almost 7, babies without birth defects.

Approximately 14 percent of every babies had been exposed to various antihistamines the mom took during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some antihistamines, such as Benadryl and Claritin, own increased in pregnancy use over the years, while the use of other antihistamines, such as Chlor-Trimeton and Unisom has decreased.

However, in an attempt to assess the risk of developing other common birth defects, the researchers did discover an association between the use of Chlor-Trimeton and any neural tube defect and with various congenital heart malformations.

There was also an association between the use of Benadryl and one type of congenital heart malformation (transposition of the grand arteries).

What allergy medicine is safe to take while pregnant

However, the authors are careful to point out that these are only hypotheses that require further study.

Therefore, while there is no such thing as a completely safe medication during pregnancy, the past association between antihistamine use during the first trimester and birth defects was not confirmed in a recent large study.

Any medication taken during pregnancy is best taken for the shortest quantity of time, and at the lowest dose that is effective for treating symptoms. The benefit of taking any medication needs to be weighed against the risk of not taking the medication.

The data from this study is extremely encouraging that antihistamines are generally considered safe during pregnancy.

The previous associations between antihistamine use during the first trimester and birth defects was not confirmed in this study.

Even though most antihistamines are available OTC without a prescription, pregnant women should seek the advice of a physician prior to taking any medication, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to study more about how we fact-check and hold our content precise, dependable, and trustworthy.

  • Honein MA, Moore CA. The safety or risk of antihistamine use in pregnancy: reassuring data are helpful but not sufficient.

    J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. ;1(6)– doi/

  • Li Q, Mitchell AA, Werler MM, Yau WP, Hernández-Díaz S. Assessment of antihistamine use in early pregnancy and birth defects. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. ;1(6)–e1. doi/

Chlorpheniramine Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings

Chlorpheniramine is also known as: Aller-Chlor, Allergy Relief, Allergy Time, C.P.M., Chlo-Amine, Chlor-Mal, Chlor-Phenit, Chlor-Trimeton, Chlor-Trimeton Allergy SR, ChlorTan, Chlorphen, Chlorpheniramine (Allergy), Ed Chlor Ped Jr., Ed Chlor-Tan, Ed ChlorPed, Ed-Chlortan, P-Tann, PediaTan, Pharbechlor, Ricobid H, TanaHist-PD, Teldrin HBP Allergy, Topco Allergy, Wal-finate

Medically reviewed by Final updated on Apr 12,

Chlorpheniramine Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings

Chlorpheniramine is also known as: Aller-Chlor, Allergy Relief, Allergy Time, C.P.M., Chlo-Amine, Chlor-Mal, Chlor-Phenit, Chlor-Trimeton, Chlor-Trimeton Allergy SR, ChlorTan, Chlorphen, Chlorpheniramine (Allergy), Ed Chlor Ped Jr., Ed Chlor-Tan, Ed ChlorPed, Ed-Chlortan, P-Tann, PediaTan, Pharbechlor, Ricobid H, TanaHist-PD, Teldrin HBP Allergy, Topco Allergy, Wal-finate

Medically reviewed by Final updated on Apr 12,


Possible Associations Between Antihistamines and Birth Defects

Associations between antihistamines taken during the first trimester of pregnancy and certain birth defects include:

  1. Loratadine (Claritin): Hypospadias.
  2. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl): Cleft lip and cleft palate, neural tube defects, spina bifida, limb reduction defects, gastroschisis.
  3. Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton): Eye defects, ear defects, spina bifida, cleft lip, and cleft palate.
  4. Doxylamine (Unisom): Cleft lip and cleft palate, pyloric stenosis, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, spina bifida, and neural tube defects.

Nearly 15 percent of pregnant women report taking an antihistamine during their first trimester.


Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this sheet applies to your personal circumstances.

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What allergy medicine is safe to take while pregnant

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ABSTRACT: More than 80% of pregnant women take OTC or prescription drugs during pregnancy, with only 60% of these patients consulting a health care professional when selecting a product. Common pregnancy-associated conditions include cough, freezing, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, and pain. The cough, freezing, and allergy products most widely used during pregnancy are antihistamines, decongestants, antitussives, and expectorants. Current updates to the immunization schedule include istering tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine with each pregnancy.

What allergy medicine is safe to take while pregnant

Influenza vaccination should also be recommended for every pregnant women and can be given in any trimester. The decision to treat pregnancy-associated conditions should be based on a number of factors, including safety, symptom severity, and potential for quality-of-life improvement.

The prevalence of medication use during pregnancy is widespread and on the rise. More than 80% of pregnant women take OTC or prescription drugs during pregnancy, with only 60% of these patients consulting a health care professional when selecting a product.1 There is a delicate risk-benefit estimation concerning the health of both the mom and the fetus that must be considered in the use of drugs during pregnancy.

A study investigating the use of prescription, OTC, and herbal medicines in a rural obstetric population of participants found that over 90% of the patients took either prescription and/or OTC medication.2 A larger cohort study (multicenter, urban) found that 64% of expectant mothers had been prescribed a drug other than a vitamin or mineral supplement at some point during their pregnancy.3

Medication use during pregnancy can generally be attributed to preexisting conditions such as hypertension or cardiac problems, pregnancy-associated conditions such as nausea and vomiting, or acute conditions such as seasonal allergies or bacterial infections.

Among the most frequently used medications in pregnancy are antiemetics, antacids, antihistamines, analgesics, antimicrobials, diuretics, hypnotics, and tranquilizers.4


Chlorpheniramine Pregnancy Warnings

The Collaborative Perinatal Project monitored 1, first trimester exposures and 3, exposures which occurred anytime during pregnancy. No evidence was found to propose a relationship to large categories of malformations.

What allergy medicine is safe to take while pregnant

Antihistamine exposure in the first trimester in general was not associated with an increased risk of malformations.

Chlorpheniramine has been assigned to pregnancy category B by the FDA. Animal studies own not been reported. There are no controlled data in human pregnancy. Chlorpheniramine is only recommended for use during pregnancy when benefit outweighs risk.

See references


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