Is it safe to take prednisone in pregnancy? Are there any side effects associated with it? Find answers to these questions in this article.
Prednisone is a steroid belonging to the class of corticosteroids and used in the treatment of several diseases and disorders. It is an immunosuppressive drug, which is used to inhibit or suppress the activity of the immune system in order to treat autoimmune disorders. Prednisone is widely used for the treatment of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis and asthma. Deltasone, Liquid Pred, Sterapred, Meticorten, Orasone, etc., are some of the brand names under which prednisone is available in the market. Similar to other drugs, there can be potential side effects on taking prednisone during pregnancy. Let us see more on it.
Effects of Prednisone
Prednisone is one of the most effective drugs available in the market today. This is because it is prescribed for treating a variety of diseases and disorders. Apart from those mentioned above, prednisone is also useful for the treatment of hypercalcemia, allergic disorders, COPD, etc. At the same time, prednisone is one of the crucial drugs used in treatment of certain types of cancer like the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, etc. However, along with the benefits, there are also potential side effects related to this drug. You must be aware that there are side effects associated with nearly all corticosteroid drugs. Prednisone is no exception.
Some of the short term prednisone side effects include abdominal pain, upset stomach, headaches, mood swings, etc. There are several long term side effects of prednisone because this drug suppresses the immune system. As the immune system is suppressed, the person is at a higher risk of contracting infections. You must be knowing that a strong immune system helps in fighting off foreign body invasions in the body, hence, keeping infections at bay. Some of the major side effects of prednisone include infections, ulcers, insomnia, blurred vision, depression, migraines, etc. With these potential side effects, one may definitely wonder whether the drug should be taken during pregnancy or not.
Prednisone and Pregnancy
It is believed that use of prednisone when pregnant can lead to several side effects like miscarriage, birth defects, etc. It is also believed that use of prednisone in pregnancy can lead to congenital abnormalities in babies. Therefore, use of prednisone during early pregnancy should be avoided. Secondly, prednisone also passes into the breast milk, which can also lead to further complications. When tested in animals, it has been observed that prednisone can cause miscarriage and fetal harm.
However, the data found in these studies has a mixed outcome. There is no concrete data to prove the actual effects on prednisone on the baby and the mother. There have been no specific studies carried out in order to check the effect of prednisone when taken during pregnancy. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), prednisone has been put into ‘pregnancy category C’. Drugs that have not been tested on humans but can cause potential risks in animals are put under this category. Therefore, one cannot possibly rule out the fact that there are side effects of using prednisone during pregnancy.
So, does that mean that prednisone is harmful and should not be taken at all? As mentioned above, prednisone is one of the most effective drugs available in the market and used for the treatment of autoimmune disorders. However, as there is a possibility of side effects, pregnant women should consult the doctor before using this drug for any treatment. If you have been using this drug before pregnancy, then too you should continue taking it only on consulting the doctor.
If there is no other option for treating your disorder, the doctor may ask you to continue taking prednisone. However, long term use or overuse of prednisone should be strictly avoided. Take care!