Hydrocodone and Pregnancy
Based on reports of potential problems, it may not be safe for pregnant women to take hydrocodone. Problems (including birth defects) occurred when the medication was given to pregnant animals. Limited human studies indicate that hydrocodone may increase the risk of similar birth defects in humans as well. If you are using this medication and pregnancy occurs, notify your healthcare provider immediately.
Hydrocodone is an active ingredient used in many prescription pain and cough medications. Based on reports of rare problems in humans, the drug may not be safe for use during pregnancy.
It is important to note that hydrocodone is not available by itself; it is available only in combination with one or more other active ingredients. The other active ingredients (which vary, depending on the particular product) may have other pregnancy Category ratings and may cause other problems when used during pregnancy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been adequately studied in pregnant humans but that do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Also, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
When given to pregnant hamsters, a single dose of hydrocodone increased the risk of birth defects, including cranial defects. Limited human studies also indicate that hydrocodone may increase the risk of similar birth defects in humans as well. Hydrocodone is a narcotic, and using this drug during the end of a pregnancy may cause narcotic withdrawal in the infant after delivery. Such withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Fast breathing
- Increased stools
- Irritability and excessive crying
- Shakiness (tremors)
However, pregnancy Category C medicines (including hydrocodone) may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child.