Nexium During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

by on May 14, 2012

The FDA categorizes Nexium as a category B medication, meaning there is no proven harm to the fetus if the drug is administered to a pregnant subject during the first trimester. Category B medications are those that have shown no harmful effects on animals and have not been adequately studied in human subjects.

Can Nexium be Used by Pregnant Women?

Yes, but only if the benefits of the medication outweigh any health risks associated with it. Although Nexium administered in the right dosages during studies on pregnant rats and rabbits caused no birth defects or adverse side effects, there is still always a risk in taking medication during pregnancy.

If a healthcare provider prescribes Nexium to a pregnant woman, that patient should inform the doctor of her pregnancy before beginning the course of medication. Patients who do end up taking Nexium during pregnancy should be very careful to follow the correct dosage.

Side Effects For Pregnant Patients

Despite there being no evidence of side effects specifically associated with pregnancy, there are certain negative effects that the drug can potentially have on any patient.  These include allergic reactions, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, gas, constipation or dry mouth.

Pregnant women should be particularly vigilant for any signs and symptoms of these adverse effects. For example an allergic reaction could physically manifest itself as a rash, hives or a swelling in the face, lips, tongue or throat.

Nexium and Breastfeeding

Although there is no data on the excretion of this medication into human breast milk, esomeprazole (Nexium’s generic name) is the S-isomer of omeprazole, which has been proven to be excreted into human milk. Therefore there is the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, meaning Nexium should not be taken whilst breastfeeding. The patient and her healthcare provider should choose between discontinuing breastfeeding and discontinuing the medication, based on the mother’s medical needs.

Whilst there is no proof of Nexium harming the unborn fetus, this drug is not necessarily risk-free. Nexium users should still alert their healthcare provider if they become pregnant. By working together and taking all of the important factors into account, the patient and healthcare provider can decide what is best for the mother and unborn child.