Boniva during Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

by on June 13, 2012

The US Food and Drug Administration has various categories detailing the effects of medications in pregnancy on the growing fetus. The FDA has categorized Boniva as a class C medication. This means that there have not been any human studies of adequate quality demonstrating the effects of Boniva on the fetus, but animal studies show that there may be harm caused by this medication.  However, the certainty of harm to a human baby is not known because animals may be affected by medications in a different way to humans.

Boniva during Pregnancy

Osteoporosis is a disease where the bones become thin and are at risk of breaking, and this occurs due to a mix of genetic and environmental factors. This is mainly a disease of post-menopausal women, and Boniva is only licenced for this population group. Therefore, pregnant women are very unlikely to be taking or requiring Boniva treatment.

However, if a pregnant woman were to require this medication, the doctor would only prescribe it if the risks to the developing fetus were outweighed by the benefits to the mother. This is because animal studies have shown some harm can be done to a fetus through the maternal use of Boniva.  However, just because a trial in an animal demonstrates some fetal harm, this does not mean this will occur in humans because there may be a difference in both the physiology and dosage used.

Boniva and Breastfeeding

Similarly, breastfeeding mothers are unlikely to be taking Boniva because its licenced use is to treat osteoporosis in women who have been through the menopause. The medication is present in breast milk in animal studies, but no such studies have been done using humans, so whether Boniva is present in human breast milk, or how much of an effect this has on a human child is unknown. However, if a woman needs the medication and is breastfeeding, then Boniva can be used carefully, with the doctor weighing up the risks and benefits of using this medication at this time.

If you are breast-feeding and are taking Boniva, then there are ways that you can minimise the effects of this on your child. You should speak to your doctor about taking the lowest possible dose of Boniva that still controls your symptoms. In addition, it is important to plan at what time of day you will take the medication. If you take it at the beginning of the longest possible time before the child feeds again, for example just after a feed, or when the child is asleep, then the majority of the medication will have cleared from your body before the child feeds again. This will ensure that your baby is exposed to the minimum amount of medication, whilst you still get the drug that you need.