Lexapro During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not take the medication Lexapro as it may be harmful to an unborn child. Women who are breastfeeding should also avoid taking this drug because it has been shown to pass through breast milk and could harm a nursing infant. Lexapro should not be discontinued without talking to a doctor first.
Lexapro During Pregnancy
Lexapro is a name brand version of the drug escitalopram, and this medication is used to treat major depressive disorder in children over age 12 and adults, as well as anxiety in adults.
Lexapro has been placed in category C by the FDA regarding its safety during pregnancy, which means the effects of this drug on an unborn child are not known. If Lexapro is abruptly stopped, a relapse of depression could occur; therefore women are advised to notify a doctor if they become pregnant while taking this medication.
Category C is the classification automatically given to drugs that have never been studied in pregnant women but that are shown to cause fetal harm in animal studies. Medications that have not yet been studied in pregnant humans or animals are also automatically classified in category C.
If a drug has this classification, it is important to discuss its potential benefits and risks with a doctor before taking it. Individuals who are at a high risk for depression relapse may be advised to lower their dosage or gradually taper off the drug in the third trimester rather than stopping it completely.
Lexapro in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy
There have been reported cases of complications requiring hospitalization, tube feeding, and respiratory support in newborns whose mothers took Lexapro in the third trimester of pregnancy. Newborns were reported to have the following symptoms:
- lack of oxygen in the blood
- feeding difficulties
- difficulty breathing
- constant crying
Infants who are exposed to Lexapro in the third trimester are also at a heightened risk for developing the condition persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN. This condition is associated with serious complications including death in some cases.
Lexapro and Breastfeeding
If you are breastfeeding you should not take Lexapro as escitalopram has been shown to pass through breast milk and could be harmful to a newborn infant. Reports of complications in newborns whose mothers took Lexapro during the third trimester of pregnancy raise concerns that this drug could be harmful to a nursing infant. It is important to talk to a doctor before breastfeeding if you are taking this medication.
If you are pregnant or may become pregnant talk to your doctor before taking Lexapro; if you become pregnant while taking this medication you should not stop taking it without talking to a health care provider first. Infants who are exposed to Lexapro during the third trimester of pregnancy are at an increased risk for several conditions. Women who are breastfeeding should not take Lexapro as it passes through breast milk and could be harmful to a newborn.