When the time comes to start a family, you may look at your medicine cabinet with a few questions. Are the medications I am taking safe for a pregnancy? If you take hydroxychloroquine daily and are planning to have a family, speak with your physician and obstetrician.
How does hydroxychloroquine affect pregnancy?
Pediatric Rheumatology completed a study titled “Systematic review of hydroxychloroquine use in pregnant patients with autoimmune diseases” in 2008. The group discovered hydroxychloroquine is an overall safe medication for mothers-to-be.
“HCQ is not associated with any increased risk of congenital defect, spontaneous abortion, fetal death, pre-maturity or decreased numbers of live births in pregnant patients with auto-immune diseases,” the study stated. “Our data demonstrate that HCQ is safe for use during pregnancy.”
However, hydroxychloroquine does pass from the mother to the fetus through the blood stream. Since the medication is present in cord blood, you may wish to discuss the benefits or drawbacks of cord blood banking with your physician.
The Federal Drug Administration has not assigned a pregnancy category to the medication hydroxychloroquine. For this reason, Drugs.com encourages patients — supervised by a physician — to only use hydroxychloroquine during pregnancy to suppress or treat malaria. Patients taking hydroxychloroquine to treat rheumatoid arthritis should not take the medication during pregnancy, advises MedicineNet.
Does hydroxychloroquine affect my ability to nurse or feed my baby breast milk?
Hydroxychloroquine is present in breast milk and may cause side effects for the baby, according to MedicineNet. Drugs.com discusses a survey of United States, Canadian, British and Mexican physicians regarding breast milk and nursing.
When a mother takes two 200mg doses of hydroxychloroquine daily, 10.6 mcg/L of the medication was secreted into the milk. Forty-eight hours after taking the medication, the breast milk tested at 0.0003% hydroxychloroquine. On average, an infant fed only breast milk receives approximately 1mg of hydroxychloroquine per day. For more information on this study, please visit Drugs.com.
What is hydroxychloroquine?
Patients with malaria, liver disease or a variety of autoimmune disorders may be prescribed oral hydroxychloroquine tablets. The disease-modifying antirheumatic drug is often taken for long periods of time when used to treat diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Sources and Suggested Further Reading:
Kirk Sperber, Christine Hom, Chun Peng Chao, Deborah Shapiro and Julia Ash, “Systematic review of hydroxychloroquine use in pregnant patients with autoimmune diseases”, Pediatric Rheumatology
Drugs.com, “Hydroxychloroquine Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings”, Drugs.com
Drugs.com, “Hydroxychloroquine use while Breastfeeding, ” Drugs.com
MedicineNet.com, “Medications and Drugs, Hydroxychloroquine – Oral”, MedicineNet.com
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD, “Medications and Drugs, Hydroxychloroquine”, MedicineNet.com
MayoClinic, “Hydroxychloroquine (oral route) “, MayoClinic.com