Acne Medicine and Pregnancy
During pregnancy, women's hormones can go wild. As a consequence, many pregnant women develop acne. However, treatment is not that easy for pregnant women. Many of the chemicals that are used to treat acne can be hazardous to the fetus. While some over-the-counter medications are safe for pregnant women, the American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend most of the prescription medications. Both the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Pregnancy Association recommend talking to a doctor before using any acne medication.
Over the Counter
According to the American Pregnancy Association, over-the-counter medication that contains benzoyl peroxide should be safe for expecting mothers to use. However, products that contain salicylic acid should be avoided. The Association advises pregnant women to talk with their doctors before starting any acne treatment.
Accutane, or isotretinoin, is a popular oral acne medication, and is classified as a category X medication by the FDA. According to the Organization of Teratology Information Services, Accutane should not be used by pregnant women. In data collected by the Organization of Teratology Information Services, up to 35 percent of infants who were exposed to Accutane during their first trimester had severe birth defects. Types of birth defects that were observed include craniofacial defects, heart defects and central-nervous-system defect. In addition, Accutane use during pregnancy also carries the risk of miscarriage.
Retin-A, or tretinoin, is a topical cream to treat acne, and is classified as a category C medication by the FDA. According to the Organization of Teratology Information Services, less than 10 percent of Retin-A passes through the mother's bloodstream and even less is given to the child. However, although the risk is not very high, the American Pregnancy Association warns that women should not use Retin-A while pregnant.
Tetracycline is an oral antibiotic for acne and respiratory infections, and is classified as a category D by the FDA. According to the American Pregnancy Association, side effects of tetracycline during pregnancy are preventing some bone growth and discoloration of the teeth in the fetus. It is also recommended that pregnant women do not use tetracycline without talking to their dermatologist first.
Hormone therapy, such as estrogen, flutamide and spironolactone, is used to treat acne. However, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should not use hormone therapy. Both flutamide and spironolactone have been shown to cause birth defects in fetuses. Though it is not known if the medications can be spread from mother to child through breastfeeding, the Academy recommends that mothers wait until they are done breastfeeding.
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