Worried about taking Tylenol PM and pregnancy? This article should be of some help. Read on to find out what’s safe and what’s not.
Tylenol PM is the brand name for the analgesic sedative made up of a mixture of paracetamol and diphenhydramine, generally prescribed for fast relief of headaches as well as minor aches and pains. It is one of the most popular over-the-counter drugs for pain relief, and is available in the form of capsules, fast release geltabs, and gelcaps, all of which contain the same basic ingredients.
While it may be okay to pop a pill when you really need it, it’s important to be careful when you’re pregnant, since the ramifications of anything you ingest are liable to affect your baby. Although there is considerable debate about Tylenol PM and pregnancy, most health care professionals are of the opinion that it is safe to take, however, always make sure to speak to your OBGYN, before you self medicate. For an overview about prevailing medical opinion concerning this debate, and current FDA regulations, take a look below.
Intake During Pregnancy
The US FDA has identified categories for medication according to the level of risk associated with their consumption through pregnancy – these are classified from A through to D and X, with A being the safest and X the least so. Under this classification system, Tylenol PM is classified as Pregnancy Category B, which, according to FDA regulation, reads as follows: “Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women OR Animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in any trimester.”
On the whole, because of stringent standards that control pharmaceutical products and the safety of their usage through pregnancy, mainly prenatal vitamins make it to category A, and drugs in Category B are highly unlikely to pose any fetal risk. As a result, a number of obstetricians feel that the use of this drug is permissible, particularly if it is providing relief to the mother. Both its components, acetaminophen and diphenhydramine (the active ingredient in Benadryl) are pregnancy category B medication.
One of the main components of this drug, acetaminophen has been long associated with serious liver damage and even liver failure, leading to death, when used frequently or the above the recommended dosage. Some studies indicate that combining alcohol even with the recommended dose of a drug containing acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, can have severe implications on the liver.
Possible side effects include nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and dizziness among others; in case of persistent side effects, or severe worsening of symptoms, discontinue use and seek medical aid. It is dangerous to combine acetaminophen with alcohol, certain drugs like warfarin, sedatives or tranquilizers, so ensure that you inform your doctor about any other medication that you might be on. In many cases, combining Tylenol with other medication that contains acetaminophen can result in an accidental overdose – ask your pharmacist or doctor if you’re unsure.
Do remember that it’s important to take the advice of your doctor when taking any kind of prescription drugs or medication, particularly while pregnant, to ensure that no harm comes to your baby. Understanding the implications of consuming this drug while pregnant may help you to make an informed choice – many mothers choose not to take medication, just to be on the safe side. Having said that, it is your doctor who is best suited to advise you about the correct procedure to follow, and with the unique nature of each pregnancy, the most qualified to make the call.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.