Category X drugs "What are they?"

Are you pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding while taking certain medications? If yes, it is better to consult your health care provider and talk about category X drugs before it's too late.

What are category X drugs?

These are drugs that clearly outweigh potential benefits. Drugs which have such a high risk of causing permanent damage to the fetus that they should not be used in pregnancy or when there is a possibility of pregnancy, in short, these are the drugs that can cause fetal abnormalities or defects.

Here are some examples of commonly used category X drugs:

1. Isotretinoin: This drug is used to treat severe acne in patients who do not respond to other medicines.

2. Simvastatin: Or other "statins", are cholesterol lowering agents. It reduces levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, while increasing levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).

3. Finasteride: Commonly used for treating urinary problems caused by an enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH]). Note especially to female nurses: Use gloves when handling this kind of drug.

4. Warfarin: Is an anticoagulant (blood thinner). It reduces the formation of blood clots. Do not use warfarin if you are pregnant, unless your doctor tells you to.

5. Methotrexate: Methotrexate is used to treat certain types of cancer of the breast, skin, head and neck, or lung. It is also used to treat severe psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

EXTRA: Ibuprofen, aspirin, diclofenac, acetaminophen, or oxycodone: These pain relievers should be avoided especially in the 3rd trimester. Consult your doctor before taking these drugs during pregnancy.

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